Grabaciones Azul Alcachofa, Spain
By Carlos Reyes
You know how there’s a weirdo on every nation’s indie scene, well, Spain has a several of them. Some may point straight to Joe Crepusculo, Thelematicos or Manos de Topo, but newcomer Raúl Querido has the right amount of quirkiness and eccentricity to take the official title. His loopy pop hides and reveals an interesting character in Spain’s pop; he’s pretty much a hit-or-miss artist, unbearable at times, but mostly charming. His vocal execution is almost non-human, there’s barely any warmth to it; it’s robotic, lifeless.
But along with his cold flamboyance, there are some dynamics that make Raúl Querido’s albums more than simple witty exercises. This year alone, he’s put out a total of 11 releases, including some really cool Christmas songs. Most of the other albums are destined for the recycle bin, but that’s not the case with his 2-episoide album Final y Flores, divided in two episodes: 'Alfa' and 'Omega.' Both discs carry the aesthetics of bedroom pop: sad songs that appear to be brighter than they usually are, begging for some sunlight. “Tiempo Seco, Tiempo Frio” and “El Capricho” are two of many sorrowful songs that seem to celebrate in their own obscurity.
Raúl Querido’s charm does better things when he steps away from the numinous pieces. “Santo Porvenir” and “H-E-Y” are clever bouncy songs, proof of an artist than can in fact, be loving and beloved. While most f the ideas in Final y Flores come out as alienating and disconcerted of any kind of direction, the actual execution is inspiring. Final y Flores is the kind of melodramatic album that takes full advantage of the EP format, you know it’s bad but you can’t stop playing. It’s got that Olympian golden rush (in search of the garden feel) absent in many of the year’s best albums (especially those that assume their greatness), not that bad for a guy who looks like Diego Verdaguer and makes Hidrogenesse seem like a safe bet. You might end up dehydrated, but it's worth the try.