When a band known and beloved for organic, multiculti vibe music, for didgeridoo and tribal rhythms, for slam poetry-inspired earth-mother vocals and an onstage sea of 'locks and spiraling tats steps outside itself with something like the "Gutter-tech Mix" of "Nasty Boy," it might seem at first as though the music-biz terrorists have won. Overtly '90s reined-in-metal guitars, ass-slappin' vocals ("dance, nasty boy, I've got a dolla' / dance, nasty boy, make my ass holla'") and a distinctly high-heels-and-metal-pole cheap-tech beat. But really the victor is format over all else: reclamation of the beauty of the single, a chance for a band to go out on a limb, have a laugh, and walk home free of shame at the end.
It doesn't take long to "get" this gutter-tech thing and chuckle along; similarly, on "Filthy Rock Mix," Soma goes in for cock-rock guitars -- throw in some slo-mo water splashing off cymbals, and you've got it. Soma Mestizo proves itself unnervingly capable of delivering hair metal with a strict dance beat -- its role-reversal of the pole-dance call-to-arms is particularly effective when it's so patently nasty, but damned if flying-V radio wouldn't unironically love it. Each of these is executed in period-piece perfection, and while it doesn't take long for the fun to wear and the song to drown in its own irony, there's something exciting about Soma simply doing it, instead of saying, "You know what would freak people out ..."
Delve into the, shall we say, proper mix and you may find yourself immersed in one of the finest concoctions Soma Mestizo has released. As a taster for the full-length album that allegedly will arrive in a few months, this is one rare aperitif. On the eight minutes of barely legal, deeply sensual organic electro of the "Sex Lounge Mix," the Soma-ness of "Nasty Boy" comes front-center: A typically teeth-bared, subtly aggressive power declaration that flows unnoticeably from grinding beat to ambient dub. One can't help but see an underlying point -- that 21st-century ambient electro is just another in a long line of musical forms produced simply to get people undressed -- but for the moment, bask in it and get nekkid.