For those who don’t already know, Johnny Otis Dávila is probably best known for his work on guitar in the now defunct Dávila 666, probably the biggest band in Puerto Rican garage rock the past decade. Since Dávila 666, Johnny’s been part of Terror Amor (still playing with AJ), and now we have this, where Johnny takes front and center. If Dávila 666 was akin to Radio Birdman with smatterings of bubblegum influence, Johnny’s 4 song EP P.I.F.F. is akin to Greg Cartwright’s loud rockin’ days with Compulsive Gamblers and Reigning Sound during the first half of the 2000s.
This is loud, loud guitar driven rock ‘n’ roll. Not as loud as Too Much Guitar, but not too far behind. Opener “Calle de Susto” is probably the best original here. It’s the highest in energy and features soaring backing vocals, some nice pounding tambourine, a great, brief, efficient guitar solo, and Johnny’s most dynamic lead vocal performance. “Mi nena” is good as well, and “¡Ay Dioj!”, while probably the weakest thing here, is still solid. What might be most surprising though is that Johnny covers one of my all-time favorite songs in Compulsive Gamblers’ “Stop & Think It Over” (called “Stop” here), and manages to do justice to what I pretty much already considered to be perfect. It’s very faithful to the original, as it should be, but there are enough differences to warrant its existence. Johnny’s vocals are more clean during the choruses as opposed to the gruff vocals of Greg, there’s some tasteful use of acoustic guitar, and the melody during the chorus is different, swinging where the original pounds, courtesy of the drumming shift.
If you’re a fan of good guitar rock, you should check this out. This thing’s a 9 minute good time, and I hope more’s coming.
The cassette’s unfortunately already sold out, but you can download the EP for free with the Bandcamp link above.