Taras Bulba, Jessy Bulbo

Nuevos Ricos, México

by Carlos Reyes

In the intro of “Estampa Polinesia” Jessy Bulbo questions “should I do a Patti Smith shot?” Let me get it straight, Taras Bulba is the best Latin rock album I’ve heard this year so far. Jessy Bulbo is the wildest girl in Mexico’s music, a rare tour de force with full control over her savage musical vision. Some may remember this hot wonder as the leader of Las Ultrasonicas; she decided to go solo and released the notable Saga Mama in 2006, but that record was no more than a fancy collage of noise and attitude, unlike this new album that really gets it right. Under the guidance of producers Martin Thulin from Los Fancy Free and Dandy de Tacubaya from Titan this is one of the most grateful knockouts of the year.

The first single “Muñequita Sintetica” is a cover from underground 80s rockero El Haragan, an irrational love song about a man’s testimonial on his crack head girlfriend. He calls her his ‘synthetic doll’ but not in a sexual sense as many would think; see Latin America is so poor that addicts (especially street kids) inhale strong kinds of glue that are affordable and easily available, so he is embracing her metamorphosis physically and mentally while maintaining an eye on a violent reality. The album’s jewel is “No escuches mas a tus ídolos”, a self-fulfilling, self-promoting song where she asks us to stop listening to our idols and start playing her music. “those rhymes touting your way, are nothing but a word play with no virtue, they have an issue and expire date, you’ll forget them by fall, you’ll see.”

First track “Comal” is a round travelling of a subject replacing another subject and their role as a dependant or consequence: “comal for the tortillas, tortillas for the tacos, tacos to eat, eat to live, live to die, die for the sand, sand for pot, pot for the flowers, flowers for the girls, girls for the boys…” Bulbo understands roundness in a cynical contemplation where she is able to tackle and make existence seem so ridiculous. “Leche Agria” is a mystical chorus-based track that sounds a lot like Los Fancy Free and bravely talks about a woman’s smell to ‘sour milk’; about the realization and eventual redemption of the female gender towards age. Taras Bulba is all about confrontation but carries a revolutionist sensitivity, just like Patti Smith’s three-chord punk rock albums during the 70s and 80s (from Horses [1975] to Dream of Life [1988]) that confronted conservatism.

I included “Sexo sin amor” from Saga Mama as one of the best songs from this year and there is an equally volatile track here, “La Experiencia Critica” also works on disfiguring the strings and drums to destroy any sort of musical patterns. Jessy Bulbo is willing to transmit whatever she wants the way she wants, so don’t be alarmed if at the middle of a song she starts to scream uncontrollably. Her delicate voice suddenly undresses its innocence and puts a raspy mind-blowing explosion of vocal manifestation. The album consists of nine splendid tracks in an album titled after the historical short story by Nikolai Gigol. In her words: “este álbum contiene ocho piezas de rechupete que se perfilan para redefinir los parámetros del buen gusto alternativo.. the biggest surprise about this album is finding out I can sing.”

Numeric Rating
: 89
♫♫♫ "La Experiencia Critica"
MySpace (Full album available for streaming)

Key tracks: "Muñequita Sintetica", "No escuches mas a tus idolos" and "La Experiencia Critica"