The Mezcaltones Present New Album ‘Agave Soiree’

The Mezcaltones has been described as “four guys dressed as cowboys and two women dressed like Spanish Mexican that you might find in a Quentin Tarantino movie.” And we should add, the group’s music sounds like the songs you may also hear on a Tarantino movie soundtrack. Mixing vibes with a touch of a surf vibe (as well as a few secret sauced other ingredients), its album Agave Soiree is a delight to the ears, all the way through.

The group also gives itself fun pseudonyms, which are like movie character names, and include Don Juan and – of course – Don Too. Some of these album tracks sound so authentic, you might at first assume they are covers. One song titled “If I Could Make You See,” which hops along with a jaunty country groove, hearkens straight back to the Byrds. The track mixes the Byrds’ patented jangle guitar rock with sweet vocal harmonies and just feels good on the ears. It sounds to be a bonus track from the Byrds’ Sweetheart of the Rodeo. Then with “Wouldn’t Last a Day,” the vocal swings back and forth between male and female vocals, over a chugging electric guitar groove. It has the sort of couple interplay that brings Johnny and June Cash singing “Jackson” together to mind.

The Mexican side of The Mezcaltones’ personality shines brightest through “Seven Spanish Angels.” This one includes traditional guitar sounds, like those found with Los Lobos recordings, and even a warm brass horn section. It also has an Old West feel like Marty Robbins’ gunfighter songs. Yet “When The Wheels Go Up” is a completely different flavor. It’s chunky guitar and call-and-response vocal makes it sound like a ‘60s psychedelic workout. “Not Going Home,” with its unusual time signature, might remind you a little of early Rolling Stones music, mixed with more than a little Tex-Mex. “News For You” is a quieter entry, which comes off both serious and sad.

While this act has an overt sense of humor, this doesn’t mean it’s not serious about creating fantastic music. These nine tracks are full of auditory thrills, and those that are able to spot the various sonic references will have a field day with it. It’s perfectly okay to borrow, just as long as you’re borrowing from the right sources. The Tarantino cinematic reference is an appropriate comparison because he always incorporates past movie greatness references into his contemporary films. Why attempt to create something brand new when there are so many historic movie/music elements still left to explore?

The Mezcaltones is a band that deserves a large audience. Its shows are probably great, noisy affairs. Whether that’s in a small, sweaty club or in front of a wide open festival field. By the way, you don’t need to also know a lot about musical history to appreciate Agave Soiree. You may not get the sonic footnotes, but you’ll be having so much fun, you won’t even care. This is an album intended to be played loud. You don’t need a few adult beverages to appreciate it, but one can be most certain The Mezcaltones wouldn’t disapprove of a few hard beverages being downed to it. So, what’s keeping you from fully cranking this one up?

-Dan MacIntosh