INFERNAL CAKEWALK - Mesa Cosa (Off The Hip)
Although the more famous band's favourite tipple doesn't extend much further than a glass of fine wine these days, there's something irresistible about the line describing Melbourne six-piece Mesa Cosa as "the Stooges walking into a tequila bar". Revelling in a critic's assessment that you're very good at losing your shit, sonically speaking, is one thing but on "Infernal Cakewalk" Mesa Cosa do a good job of proving the tag right.
You probably know what to expect but I'll fill you in: Manic, ragged vocals, that are mostly unintelligible, guitars that slap you around the chops and a rhythmic undertow that's closer to a king tide ocean rip than a polite paddle in the shore-break. It's raucous and righteous, splashy cymbals and group singalongs delivered with a Mexicano shtick.
This is an album of 10 songs "produced" with nothing in the way of added aural niceties. You could record this shit in your front room and Mesa Cosa did. It was originally a 10-inch EP. The band added extra tracks and Off The Hip whacked it out on CD.
"Infernal Cakewalk" hits the high points on the jerky "Hijo De Mal" (slamming garage frat rock with sax accompaniment), "Frozen Eyes" (a gloom-laden punk surfing safari) and the feedback-swathed rumble "Diablo". On that one, Mesa Cosa (probably unknowingly) channel great Sydney band feedtime and their style of mutant blues. Mesa Cosa also share the budget rock ethos of The Mummies and they unload like Spanish maniacs Wau y los Arrghs.
You argue that Mesa Cosa need only hook up with a canny producer and a half decent studio and they'd make a big impact. There's enough buried hooks to stock a tackle shop and the sax player is sometimes so far down a coal mine shaft you want to send down a canary to make sure he's OK. On the other hand, these guys have a chemistry that might not handle external direction.
Whether you "get" Mesa Cosa is going to be a matter for yourself. Sub-mainstream music is wallowing in so much lo-fi trash that it's hard to pick what's good and what's an ironic pisstake. I'm coming out on the side of good in my judgement. - The Barman
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