No Manchester, the first album from Camilo Lara’s Spanish-language, rock-souled and Mariachi-accented Morrissey cover project Mexrrissey, delivers new spins on classics such as “Everyday Is like Sunday,” “Suedehead” and, of course, “Mexico.” Aside from being a must-hear for Moz fans, it could be the best Latin alternative album of 2016.
“No Manchester” is a Mexican slang phrase meaning “No Way” or “Are you kidding me?,” says a note about the album on the Mexrrissey web site. “But more than that it means that these songs, born in Manchester, have grown up, changed their hair and the clothes they wear and are living in Mexico under an assumed name.”
Lara, known for his grooving electronic outfit Mexican Institute of Sound, is a master of the ingenious retro-infused mix, and it’s not surprising that Mexrrissey is fabulous in all kinds of ways. Lara has the confidence to not cower before his idol Morrissey, bringing some telenovela worthy drama to the icon’s brooding songs and playing up his sense of humor on the 12 studio and live tracks on No Manchester. Lara produced the album of adaptations he arranged with Sergio Mendoza, and recorded it in Mexico City and Tucson. It was mixed by Grammy award winner Jack Lahana (Daft Punk, Phoenix).
Album opener “El Primero del Gang” (“The First in the Gang to Die”) establishes the bicultural brilliance of the record with its Regional Mexican-indie rock fusion and Spanglish lyrics, sung by well-known Mexican indie pop singer Chetes and Jay de la Cueva of Moderatto, with the song’s final word “away” morphing into “pobre guey,” saluted by a sway of horns.
Mexrrissey adds some extra shake to “The Last of the Famous International Playboys,” here renamed “International Playgirl” and sung by leading Latina woman of rock Ceci Bastida, who takes the spotlight here and elsewhere on the record. Bastida also seduces on “Cada Dia es Domingo” (“Everyday Is Like Sunday”), a track that combines 60s girl group via 80s new wave vocals and bounce and a techno backbeat with dramatic paso-doble style brass.
“Suedehead,” here called “Estuvo Bien,” is another highlight, featuring Chetes, Jay de la Cueva and the enigmatic French/Chilean/Mexican actor and singer Adanowsky (Adán Jodorowsky).
Mexrrissey began in 2015 and had its international premiere at the Barbican in London as part of La Linea festival. The live show will be back in the UK for more performances in April, and will tour U.S. cities in the summer.
No Manchester will be released on March 4 on vinyl as well as digital formats. Listen to it exclusively today on Billboard.