La Ira de Dios - Apus Revolution Rock [World In Sound - 2009]I love being proven wrong sometimes. On unwrapping this disc, I thought I was in for yet another example that punk is dead, a victim of its own redundancy. But “Wrath of God”—this Peruvian band’s name in English—were more than happy to prove me wrong within the first few bars of the opening cut. “Punk” this is, but roots punk: the Music Machine, the Stooges, ? and the Mysterians and even The Stranglers—the punk before punk was punk, the stuff I throw into mixtapes and -discs rattle my friends’ virgin ears and eyeteeth. Take all those bands, double the tempo, keep their fire and color, and you’re about where this record starts.
The real tipoff about the sound comes as soon as you open the gatefold for the CD case: “PERU PSICODELICA PUNK”, proclaims the front page of the liner notes. Yes, psychedelic, but more in the vein of Guitar Wolf or 22.214.171.124’s than Brainticket: it’s rattling surf rhythms gone berserk and wailing Echoplex guitar that sounds good coming out of a speaker most any size. There isn’t a song here longer than five minutes—most clock in at a single-friendly 3’00” or so—but their songwriting’s so tight and efficient it never feels like they’re skimming the surface of anything. Even the longest song (“Lima Ciudad”, about being on a downer in Lima City) bangs along at a peppy pace and leaves just when its welcome is worn out.
The band sings in Spanish, but have supplied English translations for everything. Not that it matters: the real attraction here is the band’s caterwauling power and fierce energy, not their off-the-rack anarchy-and-revolution lyrics. That said, they break away from it occasionally and do some poking around in darker corners: “Calles Oscuras” (“Dark Streets”), “5000 Años” (“5000 Years”) and “Lima Ciudad” are all about slightly more personal things. That they’re also great songs doesn’t hurt either: the drum break on “Calles Oscuras” alone is a gob-smacker. And it’s in good company with the rest of this record, which swings, snarls, brays, shoots for the moon and hits.Serdar Yegulalp