I bought the Manic Hispanic / Left Alone split from Interpunk towards the end of last year and quite liked it. I was ordering the new NoFX album at the time and thought I’d fill my order with something else new and this one got my attention. I’ve been meaning to write an entry about for quite a while now, anyway here it is, my long over due review. Sadly since buying this single and putting off reviewing it, Manic Hispanic front man Mike ‘Gabby’ Gaborno has passed away with this split 7” being the last of their career. Released on Smelvis Records the record brings together the two highly regarded LA punk bands.
Manic deliver a cover of Rancid’s ‘Radio‘ titled ‘Mexico‘ recorded for but not included on the Hooligans United Rancid tribute. Musically, ‘Mexico’ is incredibly close to the original, the production and performance seem almost identical, although the lyrics have been completely reworked which really make this a compelling track.
The chorus and verses have been altered to tell the story of a Mexican immigrant to America, while the original is written about Tim growing up as an outsider, finding a place for himself in punk through his discovery of The Clash. The chorus portrays this quite well, changing Rancid’s “Radio, Radio, Radio, When I got the music, I got a place to go” to “Mexico, Mexico, Mexico, When I get deported, I got a place to go.” The track is a fun listen and it’s surprising that it wasn’t included on Hooligans United, it’s every bit as good as their contribution ‘My Tia (Adina).’ That doesn’t matter now it’s out and it’s part of this really cool 7”.
The Left Alone track ‘Along the Way‘ is a new unreleased track off the Harbour Area sessions. Following in the Rancid theme Left Alone offer up a catchy anthemic track that sounds like something Rancid could have put out around the Indestructible era. Left Alone have always followed this sonic template and they’ve gotten quite good at it. It’s been a while since I’ve listened to their stuff but this song makes me want to go back and take a closer look at their discography. It’s very slick, maybe too slick for its own good. It’s so catchy and produced that it could fit in on modern rock radio quite easily, which is no place for punk.
The transition from the Manic Hispanic side to the Left Alone is a little jarring, Left Alone do lack the grit and hard edge of the Manic track. The Left Alone track is rad it just lacks the fun that Manic Hispanic bring forth with their playful reworking of the classic rancid song. It would have made more sense for Left Alone to redo a Rancid song too. Bottom line is it features two solid punk songs by two great punk bands and it won’t disappoint despite my minor criticisms.