Born in Nogales, Arizona, raised in Nogales, Sonora, multi-instrumentalist and band-leader Sergio Mendoza grew up listening to the Mexican regional styles jostling for headspace in a young, music-mad mind – cumbia mainly, but mambo, rancheras and mariachi too. The border is always a fierce arena of exchange, both commercial and cultural, and so there was American music too. At one point ‘rock and roll, the classics', as Mendoza himself notes, seemed to win out and he stopped playing those ‘Latin styles' for a good decade and a half.
The return to those sounds was a strong one in 2012's Mambo Mexicano, co-produced by Mendoza and Joey Burns of Calexico – a band for which Mendoza has become an increasingly integral touring and recording member. While that record had a studied air, tentative in parts (as befits the renewal of an old love affair), ¡Vamos A Guarachar! is another beast entirely: by turns raucous ("Cumbia Volcadora," featuring Mexican electronic pioneer Camilo Lara), tender ("Misterio," surely Salvador Duran's finest moment with the band so far) and plain serious fun, as in "Contra La Marea" and "Mapache," it also bears a robust electronic edge, a keen pop sensibility and all the hallmarks of Mendoza's love of 60s rock, with the closing track, "Shadows of the Mind," sure to be included if anyone decides to update the Nuggets collection for the 21st century.
This is roundabout way of saying that it appears to have everything, but never too much of anything. Focused, fierce and beautifully executed by a superbly drilled set of musicians, it is a record that fully matches the band's explosive live performances.