Only a demented soul would follow one song that confesses "Fucking isn't love—it's much better!" with a track mournfully advising listeners to battle solitude by kneeling "before your mother's love/And beg for tenderness." But that's just the beginning sequence on the latest album from Argentine madmen Bersuit Vergarabat, who then follow those tracks ("Cojer No es Amor" and "La Soledad") with a chugging cumbia ode to Mexico City. Like the group's previous releases, La Argentinidad al Palo crams a dizzying amount of genres, perverted puns and political heresies into messily brilliant tracks: the crunching rock/funk of the opener, falsetto Dixieland choruses so loopy it should become the official anthem for trapeze artists on "Fisurar," and the unrepentant tango-ish nostalgia of "Al Olor del Hogar," to name the most mosh-worthy. The grandest effort, however, is the brutal title track, which roughly translates as "Hardcore Argentinism." Over a galloping, scuzzy guitar, lead lecher Gustavo Cordera croons with jingoistic glee all that's wonderful with his country: "The longest streets/The widest river/The most beautiful women in the world." But halfway through, the party stops; throbbing Afro-Argentine drumming barrels in, and the Bersuit octet shouts out Argentina's sins: "Malnutrition in the world's breadbasket . . . five presidents in a week . . . This country is full of thieves!" Then the tune pogos anew with the concluding sigh "From ecstasy to agony/Oscillates our history/We can be the best or the worst/With the same ease." You'll never hear a more truthful diagnosis of nationalism ever again—and even better, the song, like the album, rocks.
Bersuit Vergarabat perform at JC Fandango, 1086 N. State College Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 758-9998. Wed., 8 p.m. $18. 16+.
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