Sabarakatiki — ELLOS COMEN GENTE Y YO LO SE

Ellos comen gente y yo lo sé
se comen a la abuela y tambien al bebe
Ellos comen gentle y yo lo sé

They eat people and I know it.
They eat the grandma and the baby too
They eat people and I know it 

This Puerto Rico-based punker quartet Sabarakatiki brings its listeners a raucous number that balances an upbeat melody, overdriven guitars, yelled-vocals and willfully absurd lyrics. A nimble Tony Lombardo bassline dances around the Ron Asheton chord progression and anchored by shuffling Grant Hart drums, all in the service of allowing vocalist Benicio Del Caro to do his thing. ‘His thing’ being outlining some sort of existential dread towards some unknown, unexplained terror. No matter, Del Caro plays for effect, very similar to Danzig’s gift of playing off the frightening as humorous.

In instrumental terms, the monster bass hook saves the day, providing needed flavor to the hammering guitar+drums combo and the mostly-shouted vocal attack. Despite the lo-fi production, the willfully in-the-red type of recording, and the over-the-top instrumental performances, Sabarakatiki displays genuine pop sensibilities and songwriting acument, though they are not quite at the level of fellow (and former) PR songcraft masters Davila 666. This track sounds like it’s been produced by Spot, and in a genre that prizes directness over overweight detail-gabbing, it’s a great compliment.

Despite being located in Puerto Rico, this group somehow most of all recalls late 80 Bay Area proto-pop punkers Jawbreaker and Samiam. Likely due to the roughshod vocal melody being so haphazardly juxtaposed against the ramrod, lo-fi bass/guitar/drum attack.

Sabarakatiki will provide outside listeners with an interesting entry-point into the Puerto Rican DIY punk rock community but they are decidedly lightweight. Sadly, the group appears to have lost steam a while ago, which is disappointing because on Ellos Comen Gente Y Yo Lo Se, these rock’and’roll true believers display the kind of sass and chutzpah that exists at the heart of all genuine rock and roll music. Maybe one day, they’ll come back to slay us all.

RIYL: Early Misfits demo tapes, early Dickies, joking around with your pals