Tuesday 23 April 2013

Blacanova - ¿Cómo ve el mundo un caballo?

Album review by kev@thesoundofconfusion.co.uk

Formed in 2006, the list of genres that inspire Blacanova reads a bit like a list of the music we tend to feature on the site: shoegaze, noise-pop, dreampop, post-punk, psychedelia and post-punk. So they caught our attention before we heard a note. Having missed out on their eponymous debut album in 2010 (and the EPs prior to that), '¿Cómo ve el mundo un caballo?' is acting as our introduction to their world, a world of many influences, and not all of them musical. Their band name is inspired by a 1932 cult film called 'Freaks', we don't know how its title came about but it translates as 'How Do Horses See The World?'. That burning question that's puzzled philosophers and zoologists since the dawn of time.

Sometimes listening to music that's not in a language you can speak can add to the overall effect of the album. It can be mysterious, romantic even, or perhaps even unsettling. On '¿Cómo ve el mundo un caballo?' it doesn't quite work, but how on earth can we criticise a band for singing in their native tongue? It's our fault that this detracts from the music, not theirs. Plus they deserve kudos for not choosing English instead for its increased possibility of UK/US attention. Musically this record does incorporate the aforementioned genres and as a collection of songs it's very good; it's difficult to exactly identify why, but it sounds like a dark album. Perhaps it's the black eye on the cover, or perhaps its creepy songs like 'La Migala' or 'Cine de Verano', either way, their ability to create atmosphere is a plus point; too many albums are just flat. This definitely is not.

Many songs here feel like journeys; even the aforementioned 'Cine de Verano' ends up being quite sweet dreampop, something that continues into 'El Pulmón Artificial' with its shoegaze guitars and twinkly backing that eventually begins to soar. There's a whole different vibe going on when we get to 'El Abrigo', a mid-paced, jangly guitar number which ends in a ball of fuzz. This evolution during songs is a common occurrence; 'La Migala' ends much the same way, only more harrowing, and 'Invertebrebados' begins fairy inauspiciously before blooming into a fine shoegaze song, as does 'Poltergeist'. The post-punky 'A-92' provides a late highlight. '¿Cómo ve el mundo un caballo?' seems like an unusual album despite the language barrier, and Blacanova construct their songs is a different manner to most bands we hear, and that's something that means it gets the thumbs up from us.

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