It’s said that you should never start anything with an apology, but that’s what I’m doing right here. Usually when I premiere a single track I do not then go on to review the album, however today I’m going to make an exception. This is because a soon as I heard the rest of this Familia De Lobos album I knew I had to write about this too. So the apology is that you may have already read the first half of this review, but keep going because this is an absolutely stunning release that is getting 2018 off to a brilliant start and I really want to tell you about it.
Familia De Lobos (Family of Wolves) is a new, self-titled, album by Argentinian six-piece coming out on Riot Season Records on 19th January 2018. As you would expect from a release from that label Familia De Lobos as a band are a very interesting proposition. This is something that is not immediately evident when you looks at the band’s line-up of Eric Moreno (guitar and voice), Charly Cross (guitar), Maria Anselmo (bass drum and percussion), Andres Merlo (Synthesizers), Matias blanco (percussion), y Fermin ugarte (bass); but in addition to these familiar instruments, played through valve amps, Familia De Lobos also employ pre-columbian instruments, from the southern region of Latin America.
This gives them a very rich and mellow sound through which the band say they intend “to restore the bond between the human being, the earth and the living forms in it; the re-connection of himself and his most primitive emotions, sharing and restoring in that way, the spiritual world of the original people from South American, in the context of modern life.”
‘Todo Lo Que Brilla’ certainly seems to meet these criteria with its cool and hazy psychedelic rock elements, which on their own could be transported straight from the 1970s. Yet it also has within it, as an intrinsic part of the music, a folk sensibility that locates the band within their South American milieu. In this way it reminded me of the likes of Hills, Dreamtime and The Myrrors; each of whom add their own sense of place to their music. And for my money, on this evidence, this release is going to be every good as the output of those bands.
‘El Viento Y La Luz’ continues which the lush production found on the opening track, something that marks this album out for me. A relatively slow number that has a hazy desert rock vibe to it, you can feel the hot sun on your face as you lazily amble across the parched ground. Then when the zoned out guitar solo kicks in at about the halfway mark your totally away with it… just blissful.
After that I’m thinking it’s just about impossible to feel more laid back… then the beautiful pipes of ‘Sangria’ kick in, and on the back of them some lovely percussion. Here the pre-columbian instruments come to the fore and you get a wonderful mix of traditional music with some electric moments… but mainly its fantastic to hear what is, for me, different sounds just taking me off to some beautiful a warm places in my head… fantastic psychedelic music.
Now feeling practically horizontal I wonder where this album will take me now. With ‘Mi Amor Salvaje’ it’s the vocal that grabs me immediately and just transports me off. Quite often when I listen to new bands the music is great but the vocal, when there is one, is often the weakest part. Here this is most definitely not the case… the singing on this album is every bit as beautiful as the rest of the music. Here it nestles perfectly into the appropriately understated percussion and restrained psych guitar… Just amazing.
‘Preludio’ softens things even more with a great acoustic beginning that is both minimalist and yet somehow floods the speakers with warmth. Retaining the same overall feel this provides yet another approach from the band. There is lots of space between the instruments… and before you know it its over… moving straight into ‘Canto De Precipicio’. Here there is a definite change of mood… there’s a much more dark and serious feel to this track as the title of the track, ‘Precipice Ridge’ in English, might suggest. There is a brooding quality to this track gives the idea, to me at least, of heavy clouds rolling over the previously sunlit vistas… the sound of a storm brewing… quite a contrast to the earlier part of the album, but no less satisfying.
Last up is ‘Familia De Lobos’. which is faster and more dynamic than anything else here. There’s a real sense of movement and of urgency. Unlike the previous number, however, this is not just about the dark, there are contrasting feelings here. There’s also a great mix of the huge variety of instruments that the band use for their music. While not complex, there is a fullness to this track… something which grows as it progresses… More than anywhere else, too, is a repeating pattern that gets inside your head more than ever, in a way that just makes you want to play this album again and again… and again.
I feel as if I’ve run out of good things to say about this album, because every time I listen to it it just seems to dig a little deeper into my psyche and render it’s effect more ineffable each time. What I can say is that it just come from nowhere and had very quickly won itself a special place in my brain, and has already told me that 2018 is going to be a good place to be… musically at least.
‘Familia de Lobos’ is released by Riot Season on 19th January 2018, and is available for pre-order now here and here. It is a limited edition of only 300 LPs pressed on snow white vinyl in a 350gsm reverse board printed outer sleeve. Riot Season have 180 of these in total. Available to pre order now as either a stand alone LP or with a bonus promo CD copy.
1. Todo Lo Que Brilla (7:14)
2. El Viento Y La Luz (5:33)
3. Sangria (7:19)
1. Mi Amor Salvaje (6:15)
2. Familia De Lobos (Preludio) (3:15)
3. Conquista Del Desierto (Canto De Precipicio) (4:25)
4. Familia De Lobos (7:38)