by Carlos Reyes
“Album has not died (because to some extent, it never existed)” states the website of the ceaselessly divisive electro rock band from Monterrey. Earlier this year, and prior to the band’s self-proclaimed (and ultra romanticized) piece of perpetual history, they released All-Stars, a full-length record that is loyal to the act’s career-long juxtaposition of sound texture and musical space. Although not conceived as a career-concluding album, All-Stars suffers as an episode that neither carves the band six feet under nor brings Album afloat.
Throughout the years, Album became Monterrey’s eternal up-and-coming band. Whether it was an outcome of egocentrism or them just sticking to their guns, the band never really broke through. They came pretty close though. Their pristine 2008 album Cancer Baby showed a band capable of critical and popular absorption, but as lead vocalist Roger Cámara confessed, it was their attempt at an experimental record—“because pop is always more popular than whatever we make.” All-Stars carries hits and misses from Album’s extensive catalog of LPs and EPs. Dreamy tracks “This is not working” and “Nunca Morir” carry the Album fandom to mindlessly acquainted moods. Other tracks (“Spoken Word” and “The Road Warrior”) inherit the indigestible voice decoding that, to this day, comes off as a plain Album-ism rather than a beneficial narrative tool. Not that this is a polarizing record by design–these are tracks that venture through hedonism.
Standout track “The Artist” bursts stormy waves, beeping, and emotional swelling. This degree of symphonic bleeding is what I’ll choose to remember Album for. As they sing “thanks for watching us, we’re everywhere now,” you can’t help but to recognize the value of their undefeated hobby. All-Stars leaves many blank spaces on its sleeve. While occasionally bright, it puts its anxiety in front of its accompanying melody, making up for an almost impenetrable experience. Since its formation, Album never made itself available for a potential viral exposure, exhausting its chances for continuous recognition. Yet, as All-Stars proves to be, their work asks for a thorough and intimate contemplation, perhaps the biggest bequest of the pop-estranged, ungoogleable act.