Testigos del fin del mundo, Capullo
by Enrique Coyotzi
As expected, ever since the theory of the end of the world occurring in 2012 (December 21st to be precise) became so damn popular a few years ago, the phenomenon has become a recurring motif (though not a new one) in arts and in none artistic ways too (screw you, Roland Emmerich!), including global pop music. From Britney Spears’ “Till the World Ends,” to Quierostar’s nostalgic realization of the end of times in “Destrucción Total,” or Michita Rex’s Música para el fin del mundo, two intriguing volumes of compilations inspired by the belief. But no one has approached the apocalypse in such a fun and blithesome manner as Aguascalientes’ Capullo, with their affable proper first full-length, Testigos del fin del mundo.
Continuing their tradition for assembling catchy, infectious, synth-driven songs, Testigos del fin del mundo finds the Hidrocálidos notoriously improving and aggrandizing their songwriting skills, Isra through richer arrangements and catchier hooks and Cris and Sandunga with luscious vocal melodiousness. Their pop sensibilities have blossomed into smoother, rounder compositions, such as “La Marea” or “Quédate,” or should-be-smash-hits like flamboyant first single “Pretextos,” or “A quien amas en realidad es a mí,” a radiant, dynamic highlight where they team up with Colombian sweetheart Lido Pimienta for an outstanding collaboration. Capullo have developed a more electropoppy sound with this record without getting rid of the characteristic merengue, tropical, cumbia, and reggaeton rhythms that have been present through their previous tracks and made their framework distinctive from other artists with similar styles, like Maria Daniela y su Sonido Lasser, Quiero Club, or Javiera Mena. Even more admirable is the neat production level reached, which can be identified from the self-titled opener, a propulsive electronic rendition of Elmer Bernstein’s The Magnificent Seven theme (aka the infamous Marlboro commercials theme). Each track displays a more defined polished craftsmanship that results in a collection of sheer, gratifying, and finely accomplished pop tunes that, lyrically, don’t speak that much about the world’s destruction, but fuck it, this music makes it sound like Judgement Day would be a sweetly enjoyable event.
Testigos del fin del mundo vigorously starts with some of the best songs the trio has conceived, even incorporating indie rock mannerisms at times (“Veo la Tele”). Unlike their debut EP, Informática romantica para avanzados, listeners will notice how Isra’s singing is much more prominent in this album, which is a welcome expansion. He even assumes the lead singer role in standout “Cuarto Aniversario” and demonstrates how his voice is sufficiently appealing for a principal role, not just backing vocals. As we’ve come to expect from Capullo, the themes surrounding the record are pretty much equivalent to jumping into a teenager’s nihilistic state of being, fascinated with technological gadgets and loneliness, and with a large history of amorous deceptions. Unfortunately, towards the end of the album one can’t help but think it could have flowed better with a bit of editing. Tracks like “Agenda Electrónica” and “Éramos Tan Jóvenes” aren’t bad by any means, but their inclusion here feels like filler and doesn’t help the well-paced rhythm the record had already acquired; perhaps releasing them as a small EP would’ve been a good idea. The only real misstep here is “Adiós Sonámbulos,” which is all over the place and culminates in an absolute, almost intolerable mess. Luckily, the swirling “La Nueva Configuración” was smartly reserved as the closer; a reminder to, quoting Ms. Spears, “keep on dancing till the world ends.”
Capullo sacrifice the chance of a round album, opting to include (probably) the whole material they hand in hands at that moment, not realizing the final minutes can be a hard swallow, as the listener may lose interest. However, each of these pieces (with the exception of “Adiós Sonámbulos”) function magnificently on their own. As a matter of fact, they work as an assemblage of individual hits that make more sense when listened separately, yet time and constant replays reveal they do as well as a whole. In the end, Capullo have reaffirmed why they have been blog favorites for a while now and trace an even brighter future with Testigos del fin del mundo, a refined, joyous giant that commemorates the apocalypse in the most delightful way imaginable, as portrayed by three spectators' eyes.