Indigo | Para Nadie En Particular
album review by Olaya Barr
Indigo is a new alternative band hailing from Puerto Rico and I guarantee you have never heard anything like this before. Unfortunately in the States the only exposure we have to Central American music strays little from reggaeton or cumbia, politically charged lyrics or macho hip hop, but here we are blessed with the opportunity to hear innovative indie rock that breaks with traditional Latin American conventions. It’s accessible rock with a smooth vintage sound.
Indigo is formed by Xavier Rodriguez (lead vocals, guitar), Pedro Santiago (vocals, bass), Jesus Matias (vocals, drums), and Mike Mulet (vocals, keyboard, percussion) who previously made up the band Los Convertibles. The four clearly have chemistry and know how to compliment one another’s natural talents in every track. The calm and clear voice of Xavier seems to amplify the bass riffs as the drum beats extend the dream-sequence-like feel.
The “Para Nadie en Particular” can be categorized as transcendental rock. A perfect track to exemplify his is “El Malo de la Pelicula” which starts with Beatles-like psychedelia, morphing into heavy rock, before fluttering back into an acoustic fuzz. Indigo constantly succeeds at combining rock sub-genres into one solid track. In the opening track “Aida Luz” we’re introduced with a total hippie sitar-ridden tune that is then overlapped with Oriental-sounding keyboard and Latin American percussion. In “Suspendidos,” the chorus begins with airy sighs before fluttering in quivery techno shivers. Indigo dares to mix rock ballad with psychedelia, heavy rock with lullaby, in a way I’ve never heard coming from a Latin American -or North American, for that matter- alternative rock band. The driving force in most of the tracks in their 2011 album is relaxed and sandy vocals paired with a slow jam attitude that moves each song in what feels like a totally natural and effortless progression. This organic combination resonates a Pink Floyd meets Flaming Lips.
The risk with relying on a tranquil and sleepy voice to guide along often solo-heavy tracks is that they can start to feel tangential; as if the songs, as well as the listener, don’t know in which direction to go next. The slower tunes, like “Detras de la Luz” aren’t as successful, as they meander as if with a little too much time on their hands. The most enjoyable song is “Nunca He Parecido,” a sexy ode to blues that juxtaposes old-timey ragtime piano romp with a calm and seductive lo-fi voice. Playful “La la la”s add in a gypsy tinge to the song resonant of bouncy grunge bands like “Man Man.”
Whether the only spanish rock you’ve heard is Maná or Shakira, or you’ve never ever heard a single spanish album in your life, any rock aficionado can enjoy the bad-boy dreamy alternative Indigo offers. Not only that, but if you are lucky enough to understand spanish you can enjoy the poetic lyrics as well: “Grita de repente un mudo/ Que andaba vagando en mí/ Dentro de lo más profundo/ Veo lo que nunca vi.” (“A mute yells all of a sudden/ Who was wandering inside of me/ Inside the deepest side/ I see what I had never seen”).
Bottom line: Indigo is experimental Puerto Rican rock that dares to blend genres. At times too sleepy, but more often than not, surprises listener with creative deviations.