Mexican border trio Maniqui Lazer conjure absent-minded thoughts of a poorer-quality Chinese Stars, an nth-generation Blood Brothers, early Errors’ two-fingered keyboard-riff robotic disco, or the faintest shell of the Liars with their ideas sucked out – and make you wish they’d inherited more of their substance than just their moves boiled down into 90-second one-trick shots.
Instead, their debut’s too full of unfinished half-songs that frustratingly refuse to develop their one-at-a-time ideas. 16 tracks and interludes clocking in at 23 minutes, their disposability’s almost their saving grace, but doesn’t prevent them tiring quickly. The first half especially is such a largely unexceptional bundle of screamed, throatshredding vocals that soon get tedious and rudimentary punk-funk beats knocked out with little craft or care or substance, you’d be forgiven for giving up on this early doors.
Yet then about two-thirds of the way through they bare their teeth, match their brevity with a greater sharpness, and some shards of promise appear, 'Sonic Sex' the first and one of the best as it creeps along nicely. And as they take a straight-up punkier route, the no-brainer keyboard riffs and grumpy bass grooves nearly hit the spot: ‘Kill The Maniquis’ and ‘Teenage Mutant’ are reassuringly mean, spiky and pissed-off, ‘Tom Selleck Moustache’ worth acknowledging for the title alone, and in ‘You Me And The Lazer Gun’ they save two of their best minutes ‘til the very end.
But you wonder why they didn’t stick the handful of decent tracks here onto a cracking 7” and save us the trouble. You can't doubt their enthusiasm and lustre, but the majority’s all a bit too will-this-do and directionless; more annoying than abrasively satisfying, sadly, or worth even half-heartedly shaking your arse to more than a couple times.