Last year i adored Aida,
Mus's contribution to Darla's Bliss Out series. El
Naval, the full-length that Darla released from Mus
last year, was on my list of albums that i was looking for but
could not find.
Well, i finally got it, and it was well worth the wait. Mus's
music here is typified by lightly picked acoustic guitar and
barely whispered female vocals, en espanol. At least, those
two elements exist on most of the songs, but it is the variations
and additions that make things noteworthy. For example, Al
Oeste de la Divisoria brings in light piano, while Quien
Bien te Quier is mostly just guitar and voice, except for
a faint hint of piano at certain points and a brief interlide
in the middle which includes strings as well.
For the most part this album really reminds me of Aida,
which is to say that based on that release, El Naval
sounds pretty much exactly what i would have expected it to
sound like. This is light, delicate music. It is very beautiful
and sparse, yet it demands your full attention. "Slowcore"
is what the kids are calling it these days, i do believe.
Although there are no weak songs here, two stand out from the
crowd. My favorite is Embalses Y Rios, which is a damned
find indie pop song with a hint of droning shoegazer-esque keyboards
layered behind her voice, drums, and louder guitar than usual.
Al Oeste de la Divisoria is a stunningly beautiful and
achingly sad ballad. Rather than the usual guitar accompaniment,
here her voice is backed up solely by light piano. The recording
is so quiet that you plainly here her in-breaths before each
verse. It almost sounds like she is choking back sobs to sing,
which probably contributes to the melancholy feel of the song.
Of course, since i have no idea what she is singing, this could
be the happiest song in the world. It's probably a song about
cute puppies or something, but the sparseness and the inbreaths
really make it seem sad to me.
Cuesta is something of a shock as well. Imagine that
you are going through, enjoying the light pop, and then suddenly,
the guitarist stomps on his overdrive pedal, the drummer drops
the brushes and picks up thick sticks, and the singer becomes
just a bit louder. And Mus rock out. No really, just on this
one song, but they do it quite well. It comes right in the middle
of the album, and catches the listener somewhat off-guard. Still,
they do it well, and it really works within the overall ebb
and flow of the album.
Overall, this is a fine little pop album. If you like slowcore,
then this is a worthy purchase.