The cycle between when something is reviled and when it is “rediscovered” and reborn with a pastiche of cool keeps getting smaller and smaller, as MC Peligro proves. Her album Mexbow sets synth work that sounds both contemporary and ’80s—is there a difference?—over the divisive beat of reggaeton.
Reggaeton, of course, has not and will never stop, but it’s been almost a decade since the genre’s visibility peaked on the American mainland and in MC Peligro’s home of San Pancho, Mexico. The flip side of that early 2000s success, of course, was the backlash, which was so pronounced that MC Peligro had trouble finding collaborators willing to dabble in the genre.
Their loss really, because this Mexican take on dembow is as playful and cool as the vocals flowing over it. Welcome to “Mexbow” the genre, on Mexbow the album.
Despite what image the name “MC Peligro” conjures, it is probably more accurately imagined as a band, comprised of Ethel handling the words, and Hugo and Caio the music. In an interview with Remezcla, Ethel Verduzco describes how the project grew from her DJ sets, her parents’ taste for ’80s British synth bands, and the group’s collective counter-taste for reggaeton.
“Mexbow,” as Ms Peligro describes it, is sort of like surf music in everything but sound. There’s a lifestyle it’s meant to evoke: surfing, partying, sex and sun. That Ethel admits to going to bed at 9 and waking up at 6 doesn’t much matter; have you ever seen footage of Beach Boy Brian Wilson trying to surf? It’s the sound of the idea of a lifestyle.
And thanks to myriad influences, that sound of San Pancho beach life also occasionally invokes the likes of New Order, whose native Manchester is pretty much the total opposite of a Mexican beach. But listen to track seven, “DMT.” It’s all there. It’s weird. It works.