South America has one of the coolest music scenes out there. In the past few months and years, I’ve heard punk bands, electronic bands, and indie bands from various South American nations –the vast majority have been humbling. That said, I was incredibly excited to learn about the Chilean psych-rockers, Vuelveteloca. With four albums already under their belt, Vuelveteloca is an experienced group, driven by the musicians, Tomas Olivos and Marcos De Iruarrizafa. Their latest album, Sonora, is an amazing addition to the catalog –packed with nine aggressive and impressive tracks.
Sonora begins with a rush of instrumentals and vocals –a punk anthem called, “La Niebla.” The bar is set low with an old school, rock ‘n’ roll atmosphere, but the band quickly approaches a more complex atmosphere. A couple tracks later and, “Ataque Masivo,” ups the ante tenfold. “Ataque Masivo,” begins with some deep and powerful drum hits. The vocals float in along distorted guitars. As the track progresses, Vuelveteloca gains more energy. “Ataque Masivo,” becomes shoegazey, building textures on top of one another, adding a slew of psychedelic lines. It’s a boisterous charge of instrumentals that paves the way for other fantastic songs.
The album progresses with the heart racing. The transition between “L.A.” and “El Lado Frio” is dystopic and haunting, with gloomy atmospheres and distorted guitars. Towards the latter third of the album, “Tormento,” rips everything apart in a blazing fury. “Tormento,” begins with a racing guitar and excited vocals. Each riff speeds along appropriately timed percussion. The synergy in Vuelveteloca is impressive. “Chepical,” builds off this same rush –the band mixing rapid percussive lines and hypnotic string lines. The vocals hush into your ears and add an extra layer of atmosphere. At times, “Chepical,” gets noisy in the best way possible. Every instrument rips through, creating a fantastic cacophony.
Sonora is gnarly and against Vuelveteloca’s savage instrumentals, I would never want to talk poorly of the band. I’m sold on Vuelveteloca’s unique style –their composition is just too damn good. It starts with the vocals; whether it’s the Chilean accent or just the singer’s honesty in his tone, it’s perfect. Then comes the percussion. While the drums find a few sleeper tracks –they never cease with effort. Each track features an impressive barrage that shoots adrenaline through your veins. The guitars and the melodies they forge, are on a separate level altogether.
Vuelveteloca’s style is incredibly flexible. I’m tempted to call them psychedelic punk or possibly stoner metal. But then the band pulls in progressions that are more reminiscent of more poppy bands like the B-52s. The instrumentals gain a more ‘mathy’ tone, maybe they border noise. It might be the South American element –but I think I hear some Os Mutantes in the mix as well.
With that in mind, I just can’t get over Sonora. The album isn’t particularly groundbreaking, there’s even a few slow moments. On the other hand, Vuelveteloca brings something to the table that other artists have been missing out on. The band is flexible and their style spans multiple genres while being defiantly ‘Vuelveteloca’. The musicians seem less worried about image and let concept build the mix. Sonora is organic and heavy. If you’re looking to broaden your psychedelic, metal, or math rock horizons –take a trip to Chile. Vuelveteloca’s Sonora is one of the best new releases available for shoegazers everywhere.