La Dinastía Scorpio,
El Mató a un Policía Motorizado
Discos Laptra, Argentina
by Carlos Reyes
Throughout the years, Brazilian blogger/oracle Rodrigo Maceira (from Si No Puedo Bailar and Gente Que Viene) has been our most beloved ally in our effort to document the Iberoamerican musical landscape. In a romance of sorts, we constantly share and discuss the scene’s latest records. Maceira’s favorite band is Argentina's El Mató a un Policia Motorizado, a band that, until recently, held a great amount of skepticism from Club Fonograma’s zeitgeist-inclined spirit. Just a few weeks before the end of the year, and with most publications already turning their Best of the Year specials, the Argentine band has thrown us a curveball.
Oh, Rodrigo, how could we ever doubt you? El Mato’s La Dinastía Scorpio is, as you once described the band, “poesía rock.” Strength and restraint are El Mató’s greatest tools for melodic resonance. But it’s not the tools that make their music poetic. It’s the civility between the lyrical text and the melodic arrangements that makes El Mató’s music truly transgressive. Take leading cut “Mujeres bellas y fuertes,” a number whose brutal social imagery could have easily fallen into sentimentalism, and yet there’s not an ounce of sentimental exploitation in its narration. Instead, the band offers a contemplative diegesis that travels beyond the words. They are civil, but never conservative. For El Mató, rock music is not about give-and-take; it’s about turning whispers into roars (and vice versa) at the very tip of an emotional impulse.
El Mató is clean from the amorphous taints found all across indie rock. In fact, it’s the use of traditional composition that ultimately sustains songwriter Santiago Barrionuevo’s deconstruction of the themes. Friends, girlfriends, and rock and roll are the constant subjects of El Mató’s string progressions, with the endearing and inevitably catchy “Mas o menos bien” serving as the blueprint of the album. “Es hora de buscar lo esencial,” sings Barrionuevo in a reflective yet tense tone. A struggling relationship, financial hardship, and the emotional decadence of the nearby pedestrian suddenly aspire to a hopeful outcome as Barrionuevo brings up the idea of recruiting his friends to form a rock and roll band. “Ahora somos nuevos creadores de rock and roll,” he later responds in a rallying cry. There is so much heart in this proposal–the idea of rock music transcending the intrapersonal being to become a shared resolution is the ultimate gesture of the art form.
La Dinastía Scorpio is deep focused and truthful to the prowess of its lyrics. El Mató continue to sound like a band made of steel but, for the first time in their career, they’ve exchanged dissonant harmonics for structural composition. Not to say they sound any less ambitious, but they’ve added muscle to their rhythm sections and, thus, made themselves a whole lot more reachable. Highlight tracks “Chica de Oro” and “La Cara en el Asfalto” display a great amount of energy poured from their known pulsating strength. The Argentine band isn’t negotiating with speed, but owning it. The murmuring “Noche Negra” is El Mató at their best. Tragic and gorgeously restrained to its essentials, the track is a seamless punch to the heart. It's round and expansive, a fully visible work that validates the band’s critical prestige throughout the years. This time around they are far from a band just for critics, and they’re turning momentum into transgressive art. La Dinastía Scorpio is the tossing of lonesome warmth and the entrance to a shared melodic intellect.