by Enrique Coyotzi
So what’s up with Andy Mountains? The happy five-piece folk band has enjoyed a successful year with the release of their first EP, Epep (if you read it backwards, that’s also the diminutive name of their drummer, duh), but especially with their chintzy, overplayed first single “Tahoma 32,” which was a tremendous hit at the popular Mexican radio station, Reactor. It catapulted the group into moderate fame, obtaining tons of fans who described their lyrics as “clever” and “hilarious.” Carlos Ascencio, of Ibero 90.9’s Mercado Negro, mentioned in his review that with Andy Mountains “the fun is guaranteed,” but I beg to differ. This release generally manages to cause unpleasant sensations. Andy Mountains’ moronic formula will most likely annoy the hell out of you, just like a silly Mexican equivalent of the awful Foster the People, all packaged with la las, oohs, cheesiness, and overall silliness.
The band has described their music as “noisy childish folk.” The songs occasionally turn out noisy and, effectively, are pretty childish, but in an unfavorable, almost dull manner. Andy Mountains seem to be trying to revive childhood and even puberty in their tunes, but one just has to read the song titles to imagine the bothersome pieces awaiting. EP opener “Hoy Me Gusta Mi Peinado” evokes adolescent preoccupation with hairstyle, and the song's protagonist, while taking a shower, sings his tonada filled of “lalalas” and “ooohs,” and that’s it. The song attempts to be contemplative, but it’s so flat, it simply doesn’t peak.
“No Mames Que Te Encontré!” is a countryish track in which distinctive leader, Andrés Acosta (Madame Recamier, Los Negretes), delivers kind of aggressive vocals and occasional screaming. It’s also one of the most irritating parts of the EP when he announces “y ésta es la parte de la canción del solo de las palabras sin sentido.” While the written lyrics make reference to Da Vinci, Nietzsche, Dalí, etc., the song simply keeps going with guitar scratching and no vocals, which leads me to think this must be the part where live they go “totally nonsense,” name-dropping anything that comes to Acosta’s mind. “Matías y el Pastel de Fresas” and “Tahoma 32” are equally unfortunate, the first, with its initial whistling, is an almost unbearable corny take, the latter, a strong candidate for worst song of the year.
Musically, they principally try to resemble Animal Collective’s Sung Tongs era. Just subtract the inventiveness, vocal-challenging wisdom, and you’ll find out that this is, in essence, a work that attempts to emulate that sort of purposeful folk music, unfortunately, with disastrous results. This release is clearly not worthy of its universal praise, but I must recognize closing track “Somos de Papel Mojado” as a touching song. It’s almost as if the band knew this was the best thing out of the whole EP and decided to reserve it for the end, like if it didn’t belong. If this any indication of the group's forthcoming sound inclination, then we can expect more mature, moving compositions in the future, yet Epep stands as one deeply flawed and overall unconvincing debut.