“Once upon a time there were two young boys who felt they had something simple and beautiful to say. They wanted to talk of love, joy and being touched by life. Their names are Superpitcher and Rebolledo, together they are Pachanga Boys and they are trying to make the world a better place with their Hippie Dance.
* Pachanga, in Mexican slang, means ‘party’. Pachanga is also a genre of Cuban-origin music, with a lively infusion of funk, violin, brass and mischievous lyrics. As a dance, the Pachanga is knee-bending, happy-go-lucky.
It is always an invigorating excursion when two artists, combine to produce music of a higher emotive quality, despite deserved acclaim for their solo work.
Under their Pachanga Boys moniker, eccentric Mexican stalwart Mauricio ‘Rebolledo’, and Kompakt legend Aksel Schaufler a.k.a ‘Superpitcher,‘ have put out a number of invigorating releases since 2009. Their “Girlcatcher EP” released in 2011 on their own label Hippie Dance, received support from Joris Voorn, Sasha and countless others, mostly due to the B side “Time” – a progressive, floating, melancholic and hypnotic journey that became one of the undisputed heavyweight’s of the year. John Talabot recently enlisted the Pachanga Boy’s to create 3 remixes of “When the Past Was Present’ from this year’s widely appraised LP fIN, leaving a very resounding impression, and clearing the path to unleash their premier full length as this affable twosome.
I knew from their previous work (see “The Untold Legend Of Mysterious Ondo” and “Black Naga“) that the Boys have a predilection for wacky chants, flamboyant style and bizarre subject matter. Furthermore, they are known for their slight eccentricities. For example, they recently colluded with the shoe manufacturer Rivieras, re-releasing their coveted Girlcatcher EP alongside a pair of special edition rainbow shoes. Taking heed of all of this, I knew that “We Are Really Sorry” was not to be taken too seriously.
Not surprisingly, and analogous to true Pachanga Boy nature, the album is presented as – “A roadtrip from Cologne to Cheesetown, Bootown, Coffeetown and back again…an exhaustive recollection of their adventures on and off the road while finding their way to true Pachanga enlightenment… A psychedelic Western Disco Audio Book”.
On Discog’s, their extremely limited wax-only Girlcatcher EP (300 presses only) sell in the hundreds of pounds. So, upon hearing that this LP is to be exclusively available on CD, I was left weak at the knees, akin to a young child seeing the turrets of Disneyland materialize on the Horizon.
Silly boxes well and truly ticked, and a pursuit of hedonism clearly the guiding factor in this release, the unnerving first impression suggests that these two have spent too much of their time sipping Pachanga Superior power elixir whilst being frazzled in the Mexican sunshine. Sadly, this insinuates that their flair and technical awareness for producing such epic Techno has fallen to a straggling second. I’ve explained just how dear the Pachanga Boys sit in many hearts, including my own. But across 15 tracks, interspersed by nonsensical, albeit humorous narration from the ‘Dessagne Twins from Saint-Etienne’, it just feels that they could have done something more significant with this opportunity. The album has been released in tandem with a short film, which at essence is an elongated music video (perhaps amateur viral video), and throughout its 57minutes it has the cut and copy cycle of: Low-fi Pachanga-venture snippet, narration skit, repeat.
Notably, interestingly, the pair clearly takes inspiration from film composer Hans Zimmer. His masterfully crafted music “ Time” (of Inception recognition) shares the same name (and tune) of their most recognisable hit; this must stand as the starting block with the direction of “We Are Really Sorry.” Furthermore, the narrative heard in “Basic Vocabulary”, “All You Need Is A Tree” and sporadically throughout the album intermissions, is instantly comparable to Zimmer’s take on Carl Orff’s “Gassenhauer” – a very similar non-verbal narrative found throughout the film “True Romance”. Now I love a good cinematic reference, and granted they have attempted to move outside the constricting box that exists in underground Electronica. But, there are no standout moments that justify their experimentalism. Pachanga Boys; is this why you are sorry?
Having said that, the general feel of the album never strays too far from their mission statement, they do indeed remain loyal to the psychedelic audio book format. Their music is saturated with samples from the exotic and alluring locations that their pilgrimage has taken them. This can be heard to interesting effect in “The River,” intertwined with trademark Pachanga beats, synth’s, reverbs and a random collection of analogue instruments. Oh, and not to forget their wholly senseless and mischievous lyrics. “Pachanga Voice” builds and progresses like the dream sequence from The Cohen Brothers’ “The Big Lebowski” in keeping with the cinematic aurora, with its pounding reverb and building intoxicated, cult-like chants, voodoo in their spiritual lunacy, reaching out for Pachangafarian enlightenment whilst pursuing “The Dude” down the kaleidoscopic rabbit hole.
“Vampiros Hermanos” combines haunting echoes, and a driving psychedelic 80’s-ballad-esque guitar riff, joined by a sporadic and high-pitched synth tune, giving off the eeriness of a ghoulish organ player against the backdrop of Mario Kart. These tracks are clearly the highlights of this LP; of the 15 tracks, around half constitute legitimate stand-alones.
The stupidity of ‘Speedos and Boots’, and ‘Clapdance’ come across as repetitive, gluttonously self-serving continuations of the Dessange-sweet nothings; it’s very hard to recognise the credibility of any underlying ingenuity. The hysterical build up and elongated pause featured in ‘Speedo and Boots’ perhaps gives it more merit as a tune, but the associated cartoon does little to impress. To me it elucidates the imagery of an overweight Mexican and scrawny German burning away their hangovers in the sun, when really they should have been inside applying the after-sun and working more diligently on the album so many looked forward too.
The final four track’s, beginning with ‘Drunken Dancer’ and finishing with “Feista Forever,” epitomize the more familiar progressive Pachanga sound. They have potential, but all seem unfinished, psychedelic and spacey in their disco-rock. The denouement comes with “Fiesta Forever”. It slides away like the exit music to a film, in quite a harmonious and peaceful manner, its gentle folk strings calling curtain close on our nomadic jesters as they slink away stage right.
Call me cynical (never!), but the phrase jack-of-all-trades, master of none does come to mind. “We Are Really Sorry” just never really matches up to their previous work, and the accompanying film’s novelty is short lived. Besides giving their best shot at playing raconteur, the unavoidably pretentious nature of their method draws striking similarities to what Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt would most likely produce given a similar project. Really, they should be sorry, because given the exclusive nature of their previous triumphs, this premier should really have been served as an accessible compilation of their back catalogue.
We love you Pachanga Boys, but do let us know when professionalism will trump Pachangafarianism again, please.
The Boys are set to celebrate their album launch at the Rex Club in Paris today – more info here
The LP is now available exclusively on CD – you can order it here