Album Review: South of the Equator by Yukons
Latinx band Yukons, José Joaquín Izaguirre (Vox / Guitar) with Han Lenkey (Bass), and Danielle Dollar (Drums), sing bilingually on their seven-song release titled South of the Equator. This singular fact is an act of resistance, in our current cultural climate. Their Bandcamp page is adorned with this quote, “I live in a country that’s disgraced Latinx people. As a Latinx individual, I feel it is important to create and speak up and share and be loud right now. People give me dirty looks when they hear my Spanish in public now. Nearly half the songs on South of The Equator will be in Spanish. That’s what Latinx expression means.”
The first track, “Nueva,” lives on the offbeat and sets the listener off kilter. It’s abrasive, loud, and altogether punk. “Today” ’s lyrics are poignant, especially in this modern Trump Era of xenophobic rhetoric against our fellow Americans south of our border.
“Today, I walked across a thousand lands, And with no violence in my head, I slayed the BEAST that wants me dead, And then I woke up in my bed”, sings Izaguirre. “Pa’lante” starts with a driving beat from Dollar and then is joined by a beautiful little guitar riff that is juxtaposed against Izaguirre’s grainy, strained vocals. Roughly translated from Google the first line is “I have - I have my voice And no me - no, you will not shut me up”. Yukons are making a much-needed statement. It’s loud and in your face but it’s also got a beat that will get you dancing.
”Clockw3rk” starts off with slow sparse instrumentation but with the four clicks from the drummer, it quickly turns to an upbeat pop number with some eery lyrics. Izaguirre leaves them vague enough for you to fill in the gaps with your own imagination but you know it’s not a happy ending when the turn around is “I wanna take my, Take my time, You wanna break my, Break my, break my spine”. “Toolbox(the way she thinks)” deserves to be blasting while you leave the speed limit behind on your next venture on the open road. While musically it is bombastic, lyrically it’s claustrophobic as the subject of the song is in midst of rebellion and depression. “And she sits there lookin' out her window, with her cheeks inside her palms, I'll never be free, I'll never be doomed, a tear on my cheek, a knock on the door, impending fall impending fall”, exclaims Izaguirre.
“Red Flag” is an urging to get out of your comfort zone. Don’t just complain about where you are, get South of the Equator and see something new. “If I had the chance,
I would take ya SOUTH OF THE EQUATOR, if I had the time, I would drink rum and lime”, sings Izaguirre. The final statement of South of the Equator, Abajo Cadenas, is in Spanish, which is fitting. The title roughly translates to cast down chains. Lyrically it is a song about being fed up, “And me - I'm tired of the shit, to the right and to the left, I can not even sleep at night”. The frustration is palpable. It is in the guitar playing and in their voice. It overpowers the song.
Yukons have placed a high bounty on South of the Equator. They have given the listener a peek into the struggle of their current Latinx generation. This album sounds frantic, urgent, and sometimes erratic but given the subject matter and current state of events who can blame them. Yukons as a unit is raising their collective voice in hopes that you, the listener, will as well.