Descartes a Kant - Victims of Love Propaganda (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Descartes a Kant

Victims of Love Propaganda (2017)

Cleopatra Records

There are few words that sound sexier to me than the words “experimental” and “punk” put together. But apparently the words “experimental punk from Guadalajara, Mexico” sounds way sexier to me, so I jumped on the opportunity to check out Descartes a Kant (which, since they’re from Mexico, I guess translates into Descartes to Kant). I’ve never heard of them before, but apparently Victims of Love Propaganda is their third album. As I look through their website and other sources, it looks like the first two albums were more aimed at a Spanish-speaking audience, and this is the first album their really trying to market to the United States.

The press release I got for this album called them an “avant-garde/experimental punk band (though they've been called unclassifiable by many).” Okay, no, let’s not overstate things. I can sum them up pretty quickly: Dresden Dolls meets The Blood Brothers. No, really, it’s that simple: the disjointed, piano-based rock of the Dresden Dolls combined with The Blood Brothers’ ability to beautifully meld experimental hardcore with pop hooks.

The perhaps too on the nose title of the album, Victims of Love Propaganda, establishes the album’s theme. Throughout, the album explores the silliness of societal conventions about love, relationships, sex, and marriage. No song illustrates this more than “Until the Day We Die,” which tells a story, with very generic characters, that skewers the very ideas of marriage and monogamy. The opening track starts with an uncomfortably distorted rant, from some kind of twisted, angry preacher, about love, before launching into the fun and wickedly titled “You Assfucked My Heart.” Nowhere is their similarity to the Dresden Dolls more on display than on “Motion Picture Dreamboy” which, after starting off as a ferocious punk song, slowly turns into a simple, innocent piano tune.

There’s definitely a whiff of pretension to Victims of Love Propaganda, but it’s not entirely unearned. Descartes a Kant does actually manage to create an album that pushes the boundaries of punk, challenges societal norms, and has a lot of fun along the way. That’s a hell of a hat-trick to pull off, and makes me excited to see what they’ll do next.