The New Mexican Disaster Squad – Split CD

This is a split album between two punkier bands: Destination: Daybreak and The New Mexican Disaster Squad. There is a big difference in the time when either band’s songs were recorded, Destination: Daybreak in 2002 and The New Mexican Disaster Squad in 1998, but they have both been released in 2002 on Breaker Breaker Records.

I had a friend that, at one point in time, wouldn’t listen to a band with female vocals. If something of that sort came on, he’d make a big deal about her voice. Mostly it just boiled down to pure personal taste, but there were definitely other reasons. There was the fact that as a girl, it’s obvious she must be writing about the world from that special feminine viewpoint. Currently, most bands are singing about the way girls treat guys. Girls sing about the way guys treat girls (or in this case, Texas). Maybe my friend just couldn’t comprehend what was being said. Or maybe it was just the higher voice. Either way, he learned to like female vocals through bands like Cast Aside and The Anniversary. Bottom line: what the hell is Destination: Daybreak thinking?

I have always loved hearing a band with female vocals. Sometimes it is soothing to hear that clear, melodic tone against a calm (or maybe strong) musical backdrop… after all, music is art, right? Destination: Daybreak doesn’t seem to get this. I can’t stand this general punk sound with rapid southern-rock female vocals. It IS different, I understand that, but it’s just hard to listen to (plain and simple). Every song seems to roll together in the same mud puddle of cliché punk sound and vocal melodies. The vocals have the potential to solidify the music, but almost never do. The only time the singer solidifies the sound is during the verses of “Zofo,” the first song.

Some may be attracted to the southern style of life and music, but I just don’t find punk songs about ‘ho downs’ and actual songs of engines starting entertaining. I think the band can, however, progress their sound. Then again, maybe they are comfortable with what they are singing about (‘the goddamn dirty south’).

How do you follow a band like Destination: Daybreak? You do it with feedback, a lot of screaming, and fast hardcore drumming, just as The New Mexican Disaster Squad did with “Bulimia Makes Me Want to Puke.” You can still feel a little bit of the southern sound leaking over to their side with small and quick guitar licks and bends in some songs, but it doesn’t overpower what they have going. The screaming really helped them out. It’s the hardcore tinge the music deserved. The Squad has an energetic rhythmic style that gives a feel of everything coming together in a dramatic uprising, and then while the driving riffs and sometimes clean guitars come to a climax, everything musically stops and drops to a calm after-the-storm feel.

The bands both have style – not the style most people are really looking for, but it is okay to give these bands a listen. Destination: Daybreak brought down the album too much for The Squad to pick up. I recommend looking into some of their solo stuff because somehow, the feel of the album doesn’t give me the satisfactory listen. It’s hard to get into something that doesn’t feel like it came together well. The sound of the album really could have been more solid.