Origine du Groupe : Mexico
Style : Alternative Rock , Indie
Sortie : 2007
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It seems that something is stirring south of the border. In fact, borders are being erased, the musical rules are being rewritten and, in some ways, thrown out the door altogether. Who needs
rules anyway? While Chikita Violenta have been making music since the earlier part of this decade, only recently has the music scene in Mexico begun to take off in terms of support for
independent, internationally accessible acts. In fact, you wouldn’t even realize the group was from Mexico at all with all of their lyrics in English except for the clue of “coming to you from la
Ciudad de México” said at the beginning of “The Last Film”.
While the quintet has a self-recorded album under their belt, The Stars and Suns Sessions is their major label debut and it reveals quite a strong leap out of the gate, at that. The album was
produced by Broken Social Scene member/producer David Newfeld in his Toronto-based Stars and Suns studio. The album is filled with layers of the BSS sound through Newfeld’s production work and
also through the guest appearances from fellow BSS members Brendan Canning, Kevin Drew, Justin Peroff and Charles Spearin. Other guests include Toronto folk singer Sarah Siddiqui.
Opening up the album with “Pangea”, a half-minute of digital washes of sounds that could’ve come straight out of Feel Good Lost. This sets the tone for a solid collection as well as shows off the
Canadian influence. But before you have a chance to reduce them to a mere Broken Social Scene knock-off, “Laydown” comes blasting through your speakers. Opening with a wave of drums, crashing
cymbals and some of the catchiest guitar I’ve heard all year, this song is immediately and undeniably infectious. And if the opening beats don’t have you moving at least one part of your body, I
guarantee the layered vocals and washes of “ooooohs” and “ahhhhh” will win your over once and for all. Full of handclaps and a snappy beat, Broken Social Scene only wishes they could be this
While there are several noteworthy songs on the album, one of my personal favorites is “Rotation” – with driving guitars, galloping drums, melodica and a mixture of sounds that blend together to
form a harmonious wall of noise that lifts the many vocals layers up to shine. Horns later make their way into the scene as the song builds up into an all out explosion of sounds then
disintegrates as if having completely run out of breath.
However, while this sonic wash of sound technique may work well to provide a certain flavor, it can also be overdone in places throughout the album to the point that it becomes distracting. This
is especially unfortunate because it keeps you from turning up the volume on your stereo due to everything mashing together in one big mess of noise. The album must then be played a notch or two
under what you might otherwise listen to. In tracks like “Rotation” where there are many layers, both vocally and instrumentally, it would’ve been nice if it were just a little bit more clear.
It’s less noticeable when heard through headphones but at one point I had the track playing loud and someone actually asked me what was wrong with my speakers.
In “Eight Miles High” the group incorporates heavier electric guitar undertones, rumbling drums and spacey guitar interjections. The vocals pick up influences from 70’s style harmonies, which is
a great contrast with the heavier music and works really well for them. “Sunburn” offers up a lighter fare with spacey guitar, hooky bass and soft yet almost whiny vocals that builds and builds
alongside trumpets and piano that then come crashing down into a melodic jumble of keys and drums at the end.
While Chikita Violenta may excel in the pop category, they do fall a bit short in some of the lyrical elegance and overall contemplative nature that makes their influences shine so brilliantly.
“Over Now” is a fairly short track at two minutes but even that seems like too much. With the lines “This is over now” it seems appropriate that the style of the song would evoke a certain
feeling of pain but unfortunately, it’s also painful to listen to as the vocalist strains to release each word from his lips. The track acts like an unfortunate speed bump between two more
enjoyable songs. But amazingly this one track is all I really have to complain about and luckily it isn’t around long enough to change the fact that the album is a downright good listen from
beginning to end.
“Breathe” wraps up the album nicely with the same washes of sounds heard at the beginning of the album and a gathering-of-friends-around-the-campfire type feel with acoustic guitar, mandolin, and
drum tapping. There is even a nice dip into a deeper vocal range which adds a nice touch. Given the list of guests, this almost feels like a farewell to the good times shared over the course of
the album’s creation, even if the specific lyrics here “Everyday feels the same / you’re gone / and the world breathes better” speak of something completely different. The vocals are laid back
and blend sweetly with the sonic layers evoked by Newfeld. The song fades out in the last two minutes with some chorus lines rolling about within the many layers of sounds that jam their way out
ever so slowly, as if afraid to give the final goodbye.
Each song is like its own little production filled to the brim with intensely memorable and heartfelt songs. Easily one of my favorite new albums of the year, The Stars and Suns Sessions is a
near-perfect pop album that introduces not only a band to watch out for but also an entire country getting ready to take the independent music world by storm.
by Lisa Town
1. « Pangea »
2. « Laydown »
3. « The Last Film »
4. « Rotation »
5. « Sunburn »
6. « Over Now »
7. « War »
8. « Disintegrates »
9. « Eight Miles High »
10. « Undecided »
11. « Breathe »