This is a review of "Recovering Catholic / Roto Chico" recorded by Brigada Mercy. The review was written by Jessica Thornsby in 2009.
Brigada Mercy were formed from the now-defunct punk band The Yorkshire Rats, who wrote songs about the downfall of the Yorkshire mining communities. The locally-inspired music of The Yorkshire Rats couldn't be further away from the around-the-world jaunt of Brigada Mercy's 'Recovering Catholic' and 'Roto Chico.'
'Recovering Catholic' is a joyous mishmash of rumbling tribal beats, Eastern Europe backing chants and wonky gypsy-folk guitar-picking, while the press release's claim that frontman Don Wilson sounds like Billie Joe Armstrong, actually proves accurate - he does sound remarkably like the Green Day frontman.
Second track and previous single 'Roto Chico' has the same wonderfully open-minded, internationalist flavour as 'Recovering Catholic,' although it's much darker in tone. Brigada Mercy lower a Latin backdrop of rattling acoustic guitar and bumping drumbeats behind Wilson's Billie Joe impression, and fill every spare moment with colourful backing vocals. Its focus on storytelling lyrics, puts the final, glamorous twist on 'Roto Chico,' transforming it into an absorbing tale that'll carry you away to distant lands.
Brigada Mercy are the sort of band who look further afield for their influences, forging an original and exciting, internationalist sound. This double A-side single is a clunky, perfectly put-together piece of oddness, and a rare treat for those who're always on the lookout for something a little bit different.