Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Alasdair Maclean reviews Limay

"Limay has the glamour and harmonic complexity of classical guitar music but the freedom of pop"

Alasdair Maclean of The Clientele and Amor de Dias played and sung on Hacia Dos Veranos's second, eponymous album in 2010. For their third album, Limay, he's reviewed it:

This is one of the reasons I love Hacia Dos Veranos: at 2:00 into ‘Las Bailarinas Azules’ a melody takes shape, swooping downwards; on first listen I followed the harmonies, the cymbals, the bass and I realised I had no idea where they were going. It was still recognisably a pop song but for one gorgeous moment the ground fell out from underneath me.

So few bands do this nowadays. Modern songwriting is about simplicity not subtlety, and the transcendental effect of the unexpected note (6th, 9th, 11th) has become a bit of a lost art. Maybe it’s all those fucking ukuleles.

Hacia dos Veranos play many, many beautiful chords and for that I love them.

Their guitarist is a maestro: economical, precise, lyrical. His rolling, arpeggiated style will remind you of Felt’s Maurice Deebank or Vini Reilly, but he also possesses a faint echo of Johnny Marr, in that for all his sense of space and harmony he’s playing tunes first and foremost. And he can strum too.

A closer touchstone might be the great Argentinian traditional guitarist Atahualpa Yupanqui, whose stately and elegant music was introduced to me by er.. Hacia Dos Veranos's guitarist, as payment for once singing a song for them. And yet.. and yet... it also sounds so weirdly English. Pastoral Witchseason type stuff but without using any of the obvious Nick Drake / Vashti motifs. It’s the atmosphere more than anything, the feeling of unhurried reverie.

This record couldn't have been made in past eras though. There's no singer, there are distorted bits and fast drums too. It's not jazz. It's too melodic and accessible to get Arts Council funding or be album of the year in The Wire. It has the glamour and harmonic complexity of classical guitar music but the freedom of pop.

No one has done that very convincingly before (I tried, since you're obviously dying to know, but got sidetracked). Which again, I love them for. I love them for the fact they're doing their own thing and it's entirely theirs, and it also happens to be so rich and so perfectly self-contained.

Limay is released on February 18. You can order a copy now.