The Krays - Sangre (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Krays

Sangre (2011)

Dead City

Most bands who have been around for a long time have members that invariably go on to play or participate in an assortment of other acts. But if you look up the Casulaties on Wikipedia, you'll only see one other band in the right-hand column under "Associated acts": the Krays.

And it's certainly no coincidence, as both NYC-based bands share a penchant for bilingual hardcore street punk in a similar vein. But while the Casualties usually just save their Spanish offerings for entire studio efforts (2005's En la Línea del Frente), the Krays have speckled Sangre ("Blood") with tracks like "Vida Profunda", "Sangre Taina" and "Mundo Perdido" interspersed throughout. Of greater significance is that the Krays are also more melodic, varied, and far more intelligible than their associated cohorts. It's these qualities that make Sangre the solid effort it is.

While the bulk of the album is the hard-driving punk rock one might assume from a Casualties-associated band, the melodic elements give many of the tracks more of a flavor akin to Pennywise or even Face to Face at times. There are also a number of curveballs, like the reggae-ska of "The Dying Cold", and aforementioned acoustic, Spanglish tango "Mundido Perdido". The best of the straightforward punk songs is "We Lose", a furious, thrashing street punk cut complete with screaming guitar solo and the scathing testimony, "You take away our dignity and strip us of our youth / And all our songs of freedom seem a stupid waste of time / But I won't lose identity, it's the only thing that's mine."

The most interesting track of the album is its finale, "The Reckless Use of Power". It enters with a churning jungle rhythm before a buzzing guitar lead hovers over the hand percussion and ends up morphing into a cool hybrid of punk and traditional Latin music.

There hasn't been a surplus of great street punk records lately, and the Krays certainly have one with Sangre. But to call it just a street punk album would be a disservice, as the Krays competently demonstrate a host of styles and sounds that make this effort worth exploring.