by Shawn Gakhal
Las Kellies is an all-female post-punk band hailing from Argentina. Even though they’re billed as post-punk, Las Kellies have enough funk and reggae influence and ambient lulls in their catalog that causes one to question their genre status or to attempt to place them in a musical box—metaphorically, of course. However, that’s not the point here. If anything, it detracts from their almost macramé-like-way of putting together songs, which is entertaining, if not for anything. Nevertheless, Total Exposure will, most likely, appeal to ardent Las Kellies fans and for those whom yearn for challenging and gritty, post-punk anthems.
“Golden Love” starts thing off with a slow-pacing bass line—thick in its depth. Synths and electric guitars fizzle in and out, as they all the carefully selected instruments collude at once. The song is rather pacific, as one can envision just lounging around at some dinghy bar at 3 AM, while a live band plays in the background. “A Youth” is another nod to their reggae-inspired passions, as their collective voices ring in unison—in sonic reverb. However, the infrequent and odd noises that echo throughout the song do this particular song a disservice.
“King Lion” is the first song on Total Exposure that has a distinct, post-punk feel to it. The beginning drum line is stilted, with glimmering guitars wailing in the background, providing the track with a raw and energetic ambiance. Though, like most of the songs here, “King Lion” is fairly short clocking in at just less than two minutes, which is unfortunate. “La Fiesta” finds Las Kellies embracing their heritage, as the entire song is sung in Spanish, which is a nice nod to the aforementioned culture. Conversely, I found the guitars on Total Exposure to be murky and indiscriminate for some reason—probably something to do with production, I imagine. There also seems to be some genre splicing here, as some elements of psychedelic music seep in through the seems contrasting with their own punk wiles.
“Typical Bitch” finds Las Kellies almost sounding like some 90s surf-rock/punk band. Great song. Upbeat? Check. Infectious? Check. You almost wonder why this song wasn’t used as more of a template for the rest of Total Exposure. It’s easy to see that Las Kellies excels at breakneck speed. “Go V1” continues the punk theme, as post-punk guitars flare with force in the sonic onset, as the bass slowly creeps in behind.
This isn’t your typical post-punk album, for sure. A few songs have that right pace and feel (see: “Typical Bitch” and “Go V”) that’s typically associated with the genre. Total Exposure is more experimental rock than post-punk, as there is infrequent talking over songs, odd sound effects, and a general sense that this could be mistaken for a concept album. Then again, if that’s what you’re into, by all means take a spin of Las Kellies’ Total Exposure and get ready to immersed in a psychedelic dream world.