Pin It

CD Review: The Oswalds' "Hasta La Bye Bye" 

click to enlarge cd-oswalds.jpg

The Oswalds Hasta La Bye Bye

(2015, Independent)

Reactivated after a 27-year recording hiatus, the Oswalds are acclaimed writer and songsmith Camden Joy (vocals, rhythm guitar) abetted by Hudson Valley music scene stalwarts Mark Donato (drums) and Mark Lerner (bass, multi-instruments). The fruit of this reunion is the 12-song cycle Hasta La Bye Bye. The songs are lyrically and musically adventurous vignettes of characters and consequences of the Mexican Drug wars—on both sides of the border. Joy aptly describes the project as "a mongrel sound; narcorridos as garage rock." (Narcorridos is a drug outlaw-inspired subgenre of traditional romantic folk ballads from Northern Mexico known as norteno corrido.)

The first track, "Rascacielo," employs lilting rhythm, spare percussion, and plinking mandolin to open the album's narrative at the end of its tragic cycle of narco-trafficking. "They shot the singer who sang about the singer they shot / This is nowhere near the place we thought was fun / Isn't it sad when innocence finally gets it due," croons Joy. Conversely, "Opium," a jaunty, Tex-Mex rocker featuring Sweet Clementines guitarist and Chronogram contributor John Burdick, conveys the joyous sense of a trafficker finding his new cash crop or the false hope of a user coming to the final stop on the addiction train. The album's layered production takes the songs in surprising directions: "Something Must Be Done" rolls out like a grainy Folkways field recording before breaking into a crystal-clear power pop toe-tapper. The Oswalds will perform on May 1 at BSP Kingston.

  • Jeremy Schwartz reviews The Oswalds' Hasta La Bye Bye.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

Hudson Valley Events

submit event
Some Kind of Joy: The Story of Grimshaw in Twelve Buildings @ EMPAC at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Some Kind of Joy: The Story of Grimshaw in Twelve Buildings

Mon., March 27, 6 p.m. — Directed by Sam Hobkinson, this revisits key projects from the history of...

Fan of Fiction

Mon., March 27, 6:30 p.m. — Instead of planning to read one book, the library will compile an...

View all of today's events

Latest in Music

Related to Music

  • The Moonlights Sunday Brunch
  • The Moonlights Sunday Brunch

    The Moonlights, a debut musical collaboration for families, is making the rounds at a series of live performances, including two of the upcoming Sunday Brunch at the Falcon in Marlboro.
    • Mar 20, 2017
  • Opera in Phoenicia Park
  • Opera in Phoenicia Park

    With its open-air format, where attendees picnic in the parks and watch the stars emerge during performances, and its $5 youth tickets, the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice is the perfect place to share with children a love of music and theater, in a variety of styles.
    • Jul 25, 2016
  • More »

More by Jeremy Schwartz

Hudson Valley Tweets