BESTIA, HELLO SEAHORSE!
MUN, México ****1/2
By Carlos Reyes
Through the enigmatic summit of ghostly beauty, the third album by Hello Seahorse! discharges some of the most precious moments music will give us this year, Bestia is the consolidation of the trio as a major enforcement in Mexico’s indie. A significant step forward to their previous works; their charmingly twee first album …And the Jellyfish Parade and the magical sleeper-hit Hoy a las Ocho EP sound captivatingly conflicted to the much darker and bolder Bestia. The animalistic and monstrous introduction of the leading single “Bestia” serve as the connecting loop as we enter a space of shadows that is both enchanting and destructive, and best of all, it’s furiously dualistic and fully aware of its skill.
Although their single “Bestia” is this year’s indie hit and they’re breaking into a larger range of followers, this is their least immediate and accessible moment yet. It’s a full investment on their art, and to our surprise, all the songs are in Spanish. The single is a marvelous piece; I’m almost convinced my interpretation of the song is far away from the original idea, but I like my romanticized view on “Bestia” as a song about the desire for salvation and the fear to confront light, like a man taking the easy route walking with the beast and now comes back in redemption, facing the lion’s roar and finding out shame has taken his voice as punishment. Later on the album “El Segundo” picks up the defeatist scar, through sublime instrumentation and angelical vocals, the trio duels a demon and triumphs with the help of visionary producer Yamil Rezc.
The second single “Despues” is a piece on the ambiguous attractiveness of the unknown and the clumsy outcomes that result when trying to make sense of it. Also already familiar “Universo 2”, which was included in the U.S. edition of Hoy a las Ocho released by Magic Maker last year, a piece about the mystical escape of two lovers in search of the details that make up a predestinate universe in which their love would flourish. Hello Seahorse! isn’t necessarily a more mature band, we still want to see the uplifting sprit of “Won’t say anything”, but they’re showing another dimension that feels more personal. In a song like “Criminal” they’re no longer talking about communal secrets, it’s about the measure of sacrifice. Other highlights include “Miercoles” and “Siberia”, in collaboration with Chetes.
Bestia remains brilliant all throughout; it really is an imaginative voyage although once you get to “Oso Polar” it’s hard to continue before replaying the song over and over, certainly the album’s best piece and it might just be their best song yet period. A vulnerable polar bear walking through the streets looking for his home becomes part of a hide and seek afternoon; it incorporates the child game as the music alternates firm predatory drums and warmer delicate passages of a targeted pray. It’s a complex narrative that even advices those playing the game to beware of power and sizes, “no seas idiota, te crees mas grande que el, mira sus garras, te pueden matar tambien.” Certainly one of the year’s most precious albums, we’re hoping for a U.S. release to come our way very soon.