Album review – Sismos by Lentamente (2021) (Z Tapes)

LentamenteAlbumArt
I have long since reached that stage in my career, where most of my days are spent in meetings, with other middle aged men and women, as we all beat our chest and willy wave (well, not so much the women) about the strategy that we will ultimately get all our subordinates to effect for us. For a couple of years at a time our lives are stress free and life is well paid and easy, as everyone else does everything for our sort.
However, every couple of years or so the shit really hits the fan, something goes wrong and its all your fault as an Executive. It’s not so nice then and for me means that the extra hours involved in resolving the aforesaid ‘shit’, means I am dragged away from my beloved music, thus explaining why I am a month late hearing this brilliant album!
Lentamente (the solo project of Costa Rican, Arío Rojas) are one of the latest finds by the always astute, Z Tapes label, even if their claims that this Sismos album is influenced by Indie, Lo-Fi sounds and influences from Dream Pop, Shoegaze, Slowcore and Jangle Pop, has hints of covering all bases and the sort of grandeur we have heard so many times before in promo blurbs.
Thankfully this album delivers, not only on the above promise (perhaps excluding dream-pop?), but also in relation to offering a sense of sometimes obtuse and always left field to the jangle-pop genre and it’s environs.
Perhaps the ‘traditional, more acceptable’ best of the album is seen in the chiming jangle of lead single Secundaria and Panorama En 3D. Both have the sort of sparse, beauty in their isolated riffs, that the Z Tapes label appears to grow in their back garden. Both tracks are truly stunning.
As the album develops, the jangle mutates into Wire / Gang of Four style anxious, spindly riffs, whereas it’s strange fusion with the slowcore / early 80s cold wave sound, always work in Los Insectas and Cereza, despite every possible musical construct dictates, that it really should not !
Finally the album shows that Rojas has his own unique take on shoegaze. With the traditional tactic of slight, paper thin melodies, just about surfacing through the reverb/distortion malaise, he then rips any sense of formulaic out of the equation, by dispelling the usual illegible, floaty vocal delivery, that the genre tends to strictly adhere to and replaces it with something akin to a laconic, slacker-pop glide. It is weird but perfectly so.
Even those who do not do the whole non english lyrics thing, this album will still (genuinely) have just about eberything to offer fans of alt.jangle.

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