- "Modernist pop-punk disco!" Will 1000 Mexicans rejoice at this
convenient categorising pact between press release and hard-pressed
critic? Does "Dance Like Ammunition" fall that easily into
post-modernist history? How about "1000 Mexicans supercede all
post-punk funk clunk-click styles" or "1000 Mexicans are the latest
thing in hi-tech, HiNRG, hi-brid ethnic collisions and hi-di-hi holiday
"Dance Like Ammunition" cannot and will not be contained inside a "dance" faction despite the fact that, if pumped at high volume at the Hippodrome or Hacienda, "Something for Nothing", "Amnesia" and "Criminal" would be glassy, domineering rhythm tracks. There's a defiance at work, and a reliance on subtlety, on skeletal arrangements aligned with 1000 Mexicans' stark, humanist politics. There's no fear of leaving a peppery Mexican brass to stake out "Dead Language" with a melancholy drum machine pattern, or to illuminate the forceful lone voice of "I Hear You Whistle" with a swaying, blurred trance. Dexterity is the word, brothers and sisters.
Leaving the synthetic deadwood of automised rhythm at the door, 1000 Mexicans' beat is less confined to their feet, spread out more evenly to the head and heart. There's a touch of the avant-garde about 1000 Mexicans that neatly sidesteps the need to force their awaiting audience to dance or stagger them into intellectualised submission without descending into the inferno of corporate paranoia and wicked stitch-ups of 23 Skidoo and Cabaret Voltaire. Music like the uncomfortable "Water Torture" or the shape-shifting undercurrents behind "Teaching Fish to Swim" disobeys the laws of the disco-jungle completely; 1000 Mexicans discuss the unsettling nature of the beast - that's us - but can perceptively groove at will...
It's your party and you can dance if you want to. (Martin Aston)
TIME OUT - Not the least of 1000 Mexicans' charms have been classic tunes like "The Last Pop Song" and their perenially mischievous habit of using the title tracks of EPs to lure listeners into their more experimental pieces by plying them with infectious, often epic, melody and rhythm. This fully-fledged debut album is no exception, although understandably the accent here is on the former. We've been plugging the Mexicans for years and with good reason; after Shriekback they're the best example we can offer of a band mixing entertainment with experiment. And the Mexicans go further, rougher and tougher than Shriekback, not averse to featuring a sweet solo trumpet, rogue toy piano or lava flow polyrhythmic drumbeat. On "Diving for Pearls", "Dead Language", "Teaching Fish to Swim" and the overwhelming bulk of the album, this adventurous trio repeatedly achieve the admirable mix of pining pop lyricism and combative dancefloor exploration. A neat balancing act in which neither side is done a disservice, this is how I Iike my avant-garde served. (John Gill)
- There's more than a shrill reminder of the death of minimalism and
the demise of independence on this fine album. The growing pains -
strings of demos, multiple gigs, endless rehearsals - seem to have
subsided and the emergent noises are much more tangible, tactile and
The Mex burger isn't quite as well done as it could be but that's good. Good enough to leave you wanting more. Plenty of room for dessert.
The legend has been created in 1,000 dancehalls with hub-caps and tinny drum machines. Now honed down, there's a funky punk-pop sugar coated with Tom Jones vocals and the worst guitarists in the world. "Ammunition" dances with great ease, it's a toe-tapper's delight.
So maybe '84 saw the end of the little groups. But this year's flavour could still have a tang of tacos, a peppery popist punch as well as featuring an array of instruments that would seem more at home in a jumble sale. 1000 Mexicans are full of beans - just watch them jump. (Dave Henderson)