Album Review: Killer Cortez – Maquiladora

Killer Cortez - Maquiladora

Boston-based progressive rock duo Killer Cortez have launched their full-length debut Maquiladora in January, “a socially-charged sonic ode to the dispossessed, the displaced, and the disenfranchised.”

Put simply, Maquiladora is moving. What this album has is a tangible atmosphere of bittersweet nostalgia that seems to sum up the band’s tendency. At its best the album conjures powerful and, more importantly, genuine feelings of sadness, reminiscence, nostalgia, take your pick. Maquiladora feels as an epic soundtrack for daydreams, reminiscent and introspective.

Sonically, Maquiladora takes its influences from Porcupine Tree and Pink Floyd with an accent on atmosphere rather than technical proficiency, although singer and multi-instrumentalist Socrates Cruz and drummer Peter Bartash do provide some very skilful and tight performance here.

Killer Cortez (photo by Joe Harrington)

Killer Cortez (photo by Joe Harrington)

“Petrodollar” effortlessly moves gradually with a simple melody line and Cruz’ voice who sings “How can we turn back? Devotion has no end.” The bridge-line in the following “Pine Ridge Peltier,” with Cruz singing “I would wait for you, but you, you quit on me” sounds as a desperate/angry vow, with music doing a great favor to the lyrics. And the music has depth, guitar and keyboard parts being the most prominent.

The compositions, atmospheres, and musicality of Maquiladora is as excellent as it always was. “Burn This City,” the album’s closing piece is one of the band’s best tracks here, and “Villa Grimaldi” is one of the most enveloping performances on record. Killer Cortez’ prowess at creating beautiful atmosphere and songs is at top game. Its laid back, deep, layered, and has a very airy, spacey theme throughout the entirety of the album. All the tracks are poppy and reliant on the ambience keyboards create.

So many songs are anthemic to the core, itching for lighters in a concert venue. The beauty, self-reflection, and atmosphere rides up and down through every emotion as Cruz croons mournfully through lots of the songs. Yes, it’s sad, but it’s also hopeful, reminiscent, and memorable; what else can you ask for from an album?


1. Petrodollar
2. Pine Ridge Peltier
3. Bracero
4. Kowloon Walled City
5. Gilded Age Forever
6. Radium Girls
7. Villa Grimaldi
8. Burn This City


* Peter Bartash – drums, backing vocals
* Socrates Cruz – guitar, bass, keys, vocals





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