Tu Nombre Es Fresa, Adrian Juárez
Frigida Records, Argentina
by Carlos Reyes
The indie kid totem is such a scary and sensible topic. It’s hard to imagine anyone arriving at progressive pop without ever going through the cutesy twee, folk-inflected initiation. When going back to it, you could either cringe (taking part in the collective backlash) or feel nostalgic, but once in a while an exceptional album comes along and you can’t help but to shoot back up into the dreamy clouds of indie pop and adjusting alarm clocks. On his first proper record, Argentine songwriter Adrian Juárez offers an irresistible music sachet of seemingly harmless (yet heart-arresting) melodies in an album that’s ready for the winter gift wrap.
There’s nothing really groundbreaking about Tu Nombre Es Fresa musically, aesthetically, or in its personality, but look further into its proportions and you’ll find an album that’s been gorgeously mounted and predestined to abduct a handful of your senses. Adrian Juárez makes music that’s so proficiently assorted and so soothing to the ear that it almost makes for an uncomfortable experience. For those of us more inclined toward gothic and unpolished fashion, listening to this album is like finding a good old portrait of yourself and recognizing that image as a past gesture that still lives in your hopefully brighter and less diffident present. Guarded by all the guns you would find on a music pilgrimage, Juárez also recruits squeezing toys and detonating objects as part of his miniature wonderland.
The album opens with Juárez describing his mundane physical features (“tengo ojos y una nariz”), going on to more extraordinary grounds as he claims to have a heart that beats his drum. On first impression the approach seems bulletproof, but just when you’re about to dismiss it as a possible knockout, the storyteller has already dissected his veins in front of you, creating abnormally gigantic fireworks in the process. But Juárez doesn’t settle down with the unveiling of his flesh, he goes into full-confessional mode later on in “Canción Locomotora.” In this track, he also bares his mind, singing “Soy Adrian y tengo miedo,” almost justifying his physical existence as one with the sole purpose of that of a container. Just like Luciana Tagliapietra in “Las Carreras” or Installed in “Que No,” Adrian Juárez has sung and shared from the most vulnerable vein in him.
Tu Nombre Es Fresa is filled with memorable tracks, but the gargantuan-winking-at-minimal orchestrations in “Bufandas” make it the album’s highest peak. This branch seems like it was cut from the same tree as some of the most endearing songs from Gepe. In its most subtle numbers, comparisons to Emilio Jose’s Chorando Aprendese and Caetano Veloso’s Cinema Trascendental wouldn’t be too much of a stretch. Adrian Juárez tiptoes his keen sense for instruments with the embedded sorrow of music programming. Albums that assume their melodic conditions usually don’t go to far around these parts, but everything about this album (from its pretty cover to its all lowercase form) flows just right.