El tesoro que nadie quiere, 107 Faunos
by Pierre Lestruhaut
Think, just for a moment, of everything that’s ever happened in the history of indie pop, all the time and space that’s been traveled to go all the way from early Beat Happening hand-drawn cover art, kid aesthetics, careless vocals, and cute effortless melodies into 107 Faunos’ hand-drawn cover art. You can now assume just how serious and devoted indie pop fans are about this type of things. Because if you happen to have friends who are into it, or if you’re a pop geek yourself, then you probably know what I’m talking about, and those friends are probably also into a cute p!o!p! act like 107 Faunos.
Back in 2008, the Argentine band’s self-titled debut was, in absolute twee fashion, fueled by an obsession with childhood imagery, using memory-triggering lines such as “saltás con el A, disparás con el B,” song titles like “Calamar Gigante #8,” and of course a cover art you’re super talented 10 year-old niece might have drawn. Then its follow-up, Creo que te amo, as Carlos Reyes said in his review of it, was more about the “themes and topics of the adolescent years, where uncertainty overshadows positivism,” thus seeing the band’s interests parallel the aging of a person. Now, with their latest EP, El tesoro que nadie quiere, we’re treated to what’s perhaps their most adult record yet, one that’s still packed with that youthful energy, yet is also a lot more paced and developed in its execution and overall structure.
In the album, the kids from La Plata surprisingly go over the 3-minute mark twice, delivering what’s clearly their most laid-back and least amateurish songs so far in “El tigre de las facultades” and “Panchito en Hawaii.” But it’s while playing their catchiest tunes that the band sounds even more compelling. Like the subsequent series of “Con y contra,” “Boxeador mejicano” and “Cachorros,” where in less than 2 minutes per track they manage to drop the finest vocal hooks we’ve heard from them so far. Yet the greatest song here is probably “Modelos de prueba,” which is another very short number, where this time Heavenly-esque guitar lines meet Casio-style keyboard in an exciting mingle of early and late indie pop.
Because it’s precisely of this sort of digging through a genre’s past as a way to enhance its future that 107 Faunos are singing to us here (“buscamos el futuro escondido en el pasado”), while still pointing out the inevitable fate of constantly being deemed as inferior to it (“soy un Bart Simpson mal dibujado”). It’s with this sort of highbrow meets lowbrow subtext that 107 Faunos can be a very exciting act to listen to and, even if this latest release might not be as rich, both lyrically and melodically, as those of our favorite South American indie pop acts, it’s always great to see a band trying to leave their comfort zone and escape from their genre's most obvious clichés.