Guarapita – Si Hay! (Jamendo)
Reviewing albums that are nearly 4 years old? Yeah, bleeding edge folks, expect me to regress even further and start extolling the virtues of 1990’s Indie some time soon. Well, don’t actually because it was largely shite. Anyway, Guarapita have a couple of newer albums, unsurprisingly but this is the one that I managed to trip over in a drunken, stoned haze one night and nothing inspires a soul like skanking around your room at 3 in the morning to French/Venezuelan Ska Punk. Plus free music stands outside of time and space, maaan, largely because nobody’s ever heard of most of the bands anyway.
To the point though, the bulk of Ska Punk is pretty dire in my experience but my experience is largely based on hearing what’s come out of the U.S. and being depressed by the angst and pretend anger that infuses the genre. Plus a lot of it is basically just Punk with delusions of grandeur, completely missing the best bits of Ska, the bits which would imbue it with a bit of style. Guarapita though manage to break that mould to a fair degree, combining the passion and aggression of Punk with the ability to dance and generally make a tit of yourself without listening too closely to what’s going on.
The album is by no means a perfect blend of course, straying, as it does, into the realms of tedious, ultra guitar heavy driving screaming but then the Ska beat kicks in (never quite often enough) and it gets far easier to forgive the failings and just enjoy.
Production is good, which is nice and ever so slightly rare for a freely distributed Punk album. Lyrically I am, as ever, lost because it’s all in French and like all good Englishmen I refuse to learn any language which isn’t my own on the grounds at these bloody foreigners should just stop being so silly and learn a proper language. Vague exploration of their website (also largely in French) suggests that they’re tied into the world of Anarchism though so I’ll assume that what they’re saying fits in with that ethos, which is no bad thing. Vocally it’s much of a muchness really, can’t go too far wrong with shouting if that’s what you’re aiming for and those brief bits where something other than roaring is done work quite well but that may just be because I think French lends itself well to ranty singing which in turn lends itself well to Ska Punk.
Overall it’s a solid album, enjoyable for an hours jumping and gyrating even if it’s never going to become a particular favourite of mine. Certainly worth a download at any rate and seeing as Last FM says they’re touring around France I’d speculate that they put on a good show, the live setting probably fitting what they’re doing just perfectly. Of course I don’t live in France so I’ll never be able to validate that opinion.
Final Rating: 73%