Right on the verge of making that jump to a wider profile, it dawned on Davila 666 that they’d toured themselves to near death, back home they live near beaches, for pete’s sake, and figured they’d go chill for awhile. That was around 2012, and it doesn’t look like we’ll get that excellent Puerto Rican party-punk band back any time soon. Bassist Giancarlo Cervoni quickly got his killer trash-punk band, Las Ardillas, going. And now singer AJ has finished up his solo album (including ex-666-er Johnny Otis and some other guests like Cole Alexander of Black Lips), and it’s a doozey.
It’s apparent not two songs in that AJ must’ve concocted the brunt of the Davila 666 sound. It’s all still there, if tweaked: the gang vocal sing-alongs, hooks heaved like teens playing Pollack with their guitars, and a sprightly energy like the Banana Splits brought back from the dead and given Oblivians records and coke of either manifestation. The melodies are sweetened, and the instrumentation allows for a little more air among the spilled-beer energy. Lo Que No Sera is a dancey, synth-laced glam pounder. 2333 is summertime driving home from the beach perfection. And by the time the middle of the album is being hand-clapped into the ceiling with Ohhh (No Te Encantes) and Es Verano Ya, AJ equals the stickiest Black Lips’ bubblegum bash-ups.
AJ is adept at weaving in simple but tricky little embellishments, like the tambourine and bells percussion being a wee bit louder than the otherwise ripping riff, nasty leads, and desperate catchy chorus of Nena Botella; the whistling in Ya Se; and the unceasing keyboard line in the back of Chica Tinieblas that meanders along like an early New Order tune dragged through a swamp.
Yeah, he might want to watch the ’70s AM flute-ly romps like Michelle that are fetching, but skew cheesey. But then right when needed, AJ can rip out a punk slasher like Noches Negras, with a quick honking sax solo no less.
Lyrically, you’re guess is better than mine, but suffice it to say, with titles like Animal, Ohhh and Hey, AJ has not entered his Dylan phase yet. Which is not to say that his wordplay doesn’t flow with and through the tunes as smooth as the tide riding in and out of the parties he must lord over on the beaches of San Juan.