San Antonio's Combo Cósmico release cumbia cover of The Smiths' 'How Soon is Now?'

The 'goth cumbia' cover represents new territory for the spaced-out cumbia group.

click to enlarge Local spaced-out cumbia band Combo Cósmico venture into goth-y, post-punk territory with cover of "How Soon is Now?" - Courtesy photo / Combo Cósmico
Courtesy photo / Combo Cósmico
Local spaced-out cumbia band Combo Cósmico venture into goth-y, post-punk territory with cover of "How Soon is Now?"
San Antonio psychedelic space-cumbia band Combo Cósmico has released a Spanish-language cover of the iconic song "How Soon is Now?" by English rock band The Smiths.

Retitled "Qué tan pronto es ahora?" and now streaming on Bandcamp and other platforms, the song's translation is courtesy of Joaquin Muerte, the five-piece's vocalist and drummer. Muerte, who moonlights as a member of soul bands Eddie & the Valiants and Joaquin & the Glowliners, also has a podcast called "Xicanx Versus Aliens," where he discusses UFO sightings, the paranormal and other viral moments of "high strangeness" from a Chicano/a perspective.

Other members of Combo Cósmico include Luis Gonzalez on guitar, Felipe Iruegas on bass, Art Barz on percussion and Angel Garza on modular and electronics.

It's fitting that Muerte, known as one of San Antonio's smoothest vocalists, would cover a song sung by another consummate crooner, Smiths frontman Morrissey. Muerte's vocals are imbued with mystery, making the listener wonder what's to come before the siren sounds and the cumbia beat hits.

The cover strays a bit from Combo Cósmico's typical repertoire of spaced-out cumbia originals and chicha standards such as "La Danza De Los Mirlos." The group's original tracks lean heavily on the reverb of Gonzalez's surf-rock guitar and Garza's spooky modular sounds. Some tracks even include chants intended as "extraterrestrial communication."

With "Qué tan pronto es ahora?" Combo Cósmico is exploring new territory that it calls "goth cumbia" — less like a UFO visitation than a starless night.

Rather than needing to take liberties with the lyrics to make things fit, Muerte's translation of "How Soon Is Now?" is word-for-word.

"It just fit perfectly," Muerte said.

The band plans to release more singles this summer, hinting at further exploration of this darker direction.

"These are our reactions to the current state of affairs in the world," he said. "Emotional, angry, a call out for humanity."


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