Once San Antonio’s best kept secret, Piñata Protest is no secret to Austin anymore. Often referred to as the “Mexican Drop Kick Murphys,” the group has performed many marquee showcases here in the Live Music Capital. After having been featured on Austin Vida and countless San Antonio publications before, their only missing piece was a debut full-length album. Now that Plethora has been officially released on Saustex, people outside the Alamo City will have the opportunity to listen to the puro pedo punk-rockers. It won’t matter if you speak English, Spanish or both, as long as you like punk rock and accordion, you’ll enjoy Plethora.
Plethora begins with “Campesino,” which is basically a punk-rock punch in the face with an accordion. In typical punk fashion, the quick two-minute ride riffs hard while making you want to polka at light speed. It’s a truly original style that blends conjunto music and punk. That makes perfect sense given those are the popular sounds of San Antonio.
The most interesting track to listen to at high volumes is also one of Piñata Protest’s best live songs, “Rocket,” a two-minute-and-fourteen-second song about driving drunk. When listening to it, picture one of your cousins (we all have one of those) getting in the car and riding along. He stops at a bar, then after drinking, stumbles back to his “rocket.” The accordion break symbolizes that drunk walk and as the music speeds up, that is when the drunk driving ensues, hence the faster pace of the song before the abrupt end. That could signify a car crash, but most likely it is just the end of the song.
There are tracks on Plethora that show off Piñata Protest’s lighter side, such as the accordion heavy, English language track “Cold Fries.” A humorous Spanglish intro sets up a dive restaurant/diner scene followed by singing (versus yelling) to what could be Tex-Mex to the untrained ear. As is traditional in both punk and conjunto, the lyrics are silly and tell a funny story.
All that being said, Piñata Protest are at their best when they bring it hard and fast: “Matador,” “Rocket,” and “Campesino” represent the punk rock sound that can cross over into non-Latino punk rock audiences. Piñata Protest deserves to be heard and belong in punk-rock fans music collections next to their Sex Pistols and Flogging Molly albums. Plethora is proof punk rock and conjunto can indeed mix. Everyone from Johnny Rotten to Freddy Fender should be proud, that or turning over in their grave.