El Sancho is a band from Waikoloa Village, Hawaii.  From ex-members of Banned in Kona, Giant Haystacks and Your Mother. They play zombie-themed punk rock and it’s raw and you can sing along to it. There are lots of interesting sounds on the record. The majority of the numbers have the “Beat on the Brat” formula; somewhat slow songs with muted guitars and it’s a formula that is quite consistent on here. Even if I think it’s an interesting sound, my favorites are probably the songs that move away from that formula like “Never Listen” and “Permanent Record”. “Never Listen” sounds a bit like early Manges and “Permanent Record” is an anthem about the horrors of people oversharing after a few drinks, with some political elements: “I don’t wanna hear you voted for Trump/ Cuz that’s the kind of thing that’ll get you dumped”. There are other elements that make certain songs stand out like the trumpet in “It’s your Vuneral”, the guitar solo in “Our Part in the Darkness” and the cool back and forth vocals in some of the songs like “Holding Down the Fort”.

The subject matters are usually things like horror flicks and video games. “How to Kill a Zombie” laments that school doesn’t teach us the art of killing zombies. Which would of course be an important skill if the zombie apocalypse is near. So not really revolutionary subject matter for punk rock. The band takes their inspiration from Screeching Weasel, Descendents and Radio Birdman. I don’t really hear any of these here, but would probably compare them more to the Ramones or The Misfits, both for the music and subject matter. The vocals remind me of Dicky Barret from the Mighty Mighty Bosstones at times.

It’s a fine record. I tend to think that punk rock nowadays often sounds too glossy and over professional. That’s why this lo-fi recording feels like a breath of fresh air to me. The songs are catchy, and the lyrics are clever at times. However, I don’t feel like the band stands out that much from other punk bands, and the songs don’t really stand out from each other on the record. I also feel like the melodies could always just be a tad catchier to fully catch my attention, but, all in all, listening to this record is enjoyable.

Check out the album here: https://elsanchohawaii.bandcamp.com/album/our-part-in-the-darkness

-Rene