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"Fatigo (menso) review"

Let’s face it; there really aren’t a whole lot of Arizona bands that distinctively sound like Arizona bands. Recall the most infamous, Jimmy Eat World and I’d bet that most would be prone to believe they hail from just about any other major state in the USA. The same could be said about a great number of other Arizona bands; very few are so distinctively rooted in the local culture. In that sense, Fatigo stands as one of the first bands I’ve been able to distinguish as an Arizona band…sort of.
Now, don’t assume I say that because of the whole Spanish-speaking, Mariachi thing. That isn’t what makes them an Arizona band (although it certainly helps perpetuate the image). No, it is the themes, word pictures and overall attitude that formulate them as an Arizona band.
Their second album (and debut on 727 records), Menso, embodies everything about Arizona that makes it a unique place to live, and yet it also charts everything that makes it uniquely unbearable. Foremost among such things are the heat, which if viewed from this album’s perspective, might lean us towards the "Arizona is unbearable" argument. “Dormido” (which translates as “slept” from Spanish to English), narrates a favorable pastime during the summer-months – an all day sleeping binge. That’s not exactly as direct as the rest of the album; many other songs outright lament the wicked cruelty of the summer months. It is in this sense that Fatigo defines itself as an Arizona band. (No, they are not an Arizona band in the tacky cactus tea gulping “Arizona” sense)
And in all actuality, Fatigo has a much stronger reach because of such themes. With songs that cover everything from an aversion to heat, ill advised magic shows, outright hatred and delusional apocalyptic imagery, Menso doesn’t deserve to be pegged as the ultimate Arizona album, it earns the right to be the ultimate summer album. And for those of us who live in eternal summer, that's good entertainment to have.
But that’s only one side of the coin: Along with such gems as "Menso" and "Television", the album carries with it the epic of White Bear, a grumpy Artic bear who longs for the icy galciers of his homeland, but sadly remains marroned in the desert.
Goofy? A little, yet it adds a kind of running premise to the entire set. Actually, while there are plenty of great songs on the entire album, the White Bear songs are probably my favorites out of the whole collection. These songs most distinctively define Fatigo.
The very imagery of a polar bear roaming among the Southwest desert invokes thoughts of isolation and remoteness.
The most refreshing thing about the album however, is the band's cornball antics: Instead of letting their commentary about life and longing sit nakedly out in the open, Fatigo takes precious time to craft humorous musical shells to hide away what others would treat as “weepy”. That makes Menso all the more endearing.
The same could be said for Fatigo, who never plays themselves up as a pretentious group of remorseful, twenty-something “poets”. They’re really just goofballs at heart. This playfulness helps them to be quite accessible to just about any listener. True, some will latch onto this style of music more readily then others, but just about everyone will be able to agree that songs like “Mother Nature’s Son” and “The Golf Cart Preacher” are extremely catchy.
This is a grand accomplishment for a second LP, and for a band that really has no visible public history. Usually, it takes several albums and EP’s before a band can sound this polished. Impressively, Fatigo nails it right off the bat.
By the time the opening track kicks the whole ordeal off, the album manages to play itself out really well. A very possible gripe is that there simply aren’t enough songs like “White Bear III”, which benefits greatly from its somberness. Nevertheless, Menso remains a grand accomplishment. And after more then one listen, Menso might be stronger then an amusing ride from start to finish…it might be definitive.

- Eyes like Static


"Pero Los Chivos" 2001
"Menso" 2004
"Fatigo en Vivo!!" 2008

Menso's title track and "White Bear" have received regular airplay on college radio stations and more specifically on KPFK 90.7 FM in L.A on Barry Smolin's "The Music Never Stops" program.

Fatigo recently did an in in-studio performance on KSCU's (Santa Clara )"That Blank Show w/ Mr. Clean".



Many have attempted to describe Phoenix, Arizona’s Fatigo. Of the band: oddball, clever, strange, oddball auteur, absurdist, irrepressible, and, finally, supremely oddball. Of the music: lo-fi, Latin, lounge, pop, folky, jazzy, cumbia, tejano, norteño, mariachi, bossa nova, and not-quite-rock/not-quite-ordinary………… to name a few. “ My dad would always have music going in the house”,Montoya (singer) explains…whether we were pulling weeds or having a first communion party..it was always a mixture of Beatles, Mariachi Vargas, Trio Los Panchos , and Motown. …of course I was always trying to sneak my Depeche Mode cassettes in there….yeah so I’d have to say my dad is my biggest influence.” From subterranean dive bars in the Downtown Phoenix Arts district, to larger venues throughout the Valley of the Sun and the Left-Coast, Fatigo brings a multicultural concoction to the table . Smell it, drink it, love it, pass it on.

"Montoya is my favorite songwriter not dead!" -STEW (Passing Strange, The Negro Problem)