Largely critical favorites and cult heroes up to this point, the Krayolas introduce themselves to the rest of the world with Tormenta, which deftly combines 10 tracks from previous albums with an equal number of new ones. The San Antonio quartet, led by songwriter-lead singer Hector Saldana, made its name locally in the ’80s with hard-rocking power pop and Beatlesque harmonies, broke up for 22 years, then reformed to cut the seductive “Little Fox” with Augie Meyers in 2008.
They’ve been going strong regionally ever since; in this incarnation, the sound has more of a mexicano and a garage band flavor, as well a heightened social conscience, to go along with the acutely pop sense of hook and melody. Theirs is a uniquely natural, uncompromised fusion of Mexican and American, starting with the burbling Latin-flavored groove of the opening “Americano” and continuing through the bonus-track remake of Dylan’s “All I Really Want to Do.” “Corrido Twelve Heads in a Bag” and “Tony Tormenta” both speak eloquently to the depths of the Mexican cartel drug wars, while “Fruteria (The Fruit Cup Song)” and “La Conquistadora” are impossibly buoyant English-language songs that happen to have Spanish titles. Soft, sweet and sorrowful acoustic tunes like “Epitaph Street” rub shoulders with the likes of a jangly, bilingual remake of the Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” and the squeezebox experimentalism of “Wall of Accordion.” There’s nothing else quite like it, and that’s ’cause it’s puro San Antonio.