Revolución de Verano,
Hernán Martínez y Las Estrellas
Discos Perinola, Argentina
by Carlos Reyes
When simplicity alone will do the trick. “It isn’t en vogue, and it isn’t blazing a new trail. Anybody can listen and relate to it – basically, it’s pop music. It’s just really fucking good.” Clever (and up for argument) words from fellow CF writer Andrew Casillas defending the fact that straightforward artists can be as profound and urgent as those layer-over-layer, pop avant acts on your iPod. Argentine pop-rock curioso Hernán Martinez belongs to a new cohort of musicians holding on to normative form as means of artistic expression and generational complicity.
Subtle rock progressions and straight-to-the-facts lyrics prevail on the third release and first full-length album by Hernán Martínez y Las Estrellas. To be fair, Martínez isn’t the most upfront musician out there, but in the context of indie rock, his modesty with words and harmonies could easily get him confused with someone from the frightening field of adult contemporary. Luckily, there’s enough artistic frequency here to care about. The band starts the show imagining the rapture of the world in the vivid “Circulo de Fuego.” The track imagines a horrific scenery during a solar eclipse; the day fire rained from the sun, the day all artists encountered death. While illustrative in its lyrics, the mid-tempo tones and spacious percussion struggle to report on the same story. From there, Revolución de Verano goes into a 12-piece march toward the understanding of the human spirit and its juxtaposition with its brutal and unforgiving surroundings.
Revolución de Verano is irregular with its proportions, but like Venezuela’s TLX and Brooklyn’s Woods, Martínez’s folk-inflected sensibility points to the right directions. Hernán Martínez y Las Estrellas are far more eloquent whenever they equate their instruments to their dramatic, yet always accessible lyrics. They find absolute glory at least once in the jaw-dropping “Habeas Corpus.” At first glance, it seems like the occasional catchy pop song, but repeating spins will leave your eyes swelling from such splendor. This track has all the commonalities of the burning-the-bridges vernacular and goes from dust to melodic gold through chord successions, drum summation, and its flawless accentuation. “Habeas Corpus” pushes itself into your soul as small orchestra that triumphs because of its absorbent normality and feet-in-the-ground freshness. This song alone should earn the band a reserved seat among Valentín y Los Volcanes and Los Reyes del Falsete as some of their country’s new line of promising newcomers.