Reacción Direkta - ¿Cuál Democracia? (Cover Artwork)

Reacción Direkta

¿Cuál Democracia? (2010)

Lujan Crew

Reacción Direkta ("Direct Reaction" in English) hail from San José, Costa Rica. They describe themselves as "California punk with Latin American passion." They're pretty dead on. I caught them at a show in their hometown at which they opened for Millencollin, A Wilhelm Scream and After the Fall–and deservedly so. The band is legit, and they killed it in front of 2000 kids that night. Their seven-song EP, ¿Cuál Democracia? (What Democracy?), is filled to the brim with some of the finest and most tight-knit melodic skate/street punk I've heard in some time. And not only do they play with heart, but they can actually play. Like, ripping (though not cheesy) solos, crisp, hum-able vocal melodies and all. It's no wonder Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore put their mixing and mastering stamp of approval on the record.

Before I get to some of the highlights of the EP, I will put the disclaimer out there that it's a little hard to get totally immersed in the songs, or at least their lyrical content, given that they're written in Spanish. On a bright note, though, it doesn't take a linguist to get some idea of what their songs are about with titles like "Yankees", "Victimas" and "Politica o Religion". It's not brain surgery.

With that said, the kickoff track, "Desadaptado" ("Maladapted"), showcases a little bit of everything the band does well. The vocals are aggressive and unapologetic and the players take the turns of the song like Jeff Gordon on tight curves, inserting tempo changes in just the right places. There's also a driving, NOFX-inspired guitar lead laced in, which gives it that aforementioned Cali flavor. Track two, "Adelina" (no translation necessary, it's the name of a girl), my favorite song on the record, has a Face to Face lament-ish thing going on and, again, the guitar work really brings you back to the EpiFat heyday. "Victimas" (if you can't translate this you're a moron) is an adolescent rage gem, as the band's frontman sings, "Anarkistas, socialistas, comunistas / buscando la union / a todo esto hay una solución / necesitamos, revolución" ("Anarchists, Socialists, Communists / Looking for union / this is all a solution / we need revolution"). And then the band closes out the EP with "Credo", which features some very well-executed punk metal shredding à la Strung Out, as well as a blistering bass solo that would turn even Matt Freeman's head. It's a well-placed knockout punch.

If the above description hasn't enticed you thus far, I'll conclude by saying that this EP might just remind some of you jaded punk rock fans out there of what it meant to be young, fired up and ambitious to change the world–even if only through music. Ya know, like, a time before beer-soaked Americana punk became the most spun genre on your turntable.