You might be forgiven for thinking Bang Data can do anything. The Oakland, California-based duo earned some well-deserved publicity when their self-titled stunner, “Bang Data”, appeared in the television drama “Breaking Bad.” After you heard that reggae/cumbia/hip-hop bilingual carnival march, you immediately dove into the Internet in search of whatever else those magicians came up with. You found a few other reggae/cumbia/hip hop bilingual carnival marches, like the bouncy “Bomberos”. You found also the kinetic “Pressure,” which sounds like A-Ha’s “Take on Me” and Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode” hooked up and had a baby. You found the sweet, percussive ballad “Ya No Más” and the gothic “El Pacino”. You found the anti-Trump cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son.”

Well, their new single “Galáctica” is nothing like any of those. For the first release of their upcoming album LOCO, songwriter/vocalist Deuce Eclipse and producer/instrumentalist Juan Manuel Caipo enlisted guitarist Michael Cavaseno. They went for good old rock & roll. This being Bang Data, of course, it wasn’t going to be some boring guitar/bass/drums business. Rather, an energetic drumbeat anchors the song, reminiscent of the best of Los Fabulosos Cadillacs. It is accompanied by the feel-good tingling of steel drums, but the mood here is less tropical getaway and more garage band howling. In sections, especially during the oft-repeated refrain, the guitar comes to the forefront. Then the sound is in the neighborhood of classic rock en español bands like Hombres G or Los Prisioneros.

While the music is a winner, the lyrics don’t quite rise to the same level. “Galáctica” is supposed to be a sad song, about a hapless man pining for an unattainable woman. But neither the drums nor the strings nor Deuce Eclipse’s vocals want to make you sad. The singing and rapping come at us with Deuce’s trademark complexity. They combine sadness and resignation with some dark humor and a who-cares? attitude: “You’re galactic/so bad/so magical/so angry/enigmatic/what’s up with you/you’re magical/you kill me.”

Fortunate Son

Bang Data have made clear their intention to speak out against the people in charge of their country these days. The “Fortunate Son” cover, released late last year, made sure of that. So it’s refreshing to see that, along with social protest and commentary, we can still expect some of their happy stuff. They entreat us in their own unique way to take a break from the bad news and just have some fun.


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