by Carlos Reyes
If Anglo indie music percolated into the mainstream by providing service to major automobile and snack advertising agencies, perhaps our Iberoamerican indie scene will have a similar fate. Last year, during a family trip to Disneyland, my 5-year-old niece shocked the hell out of me when she started humming the chorus of “Hoy Es Hermoso” by Amor Elefante, a band whose biggest exposure had been the inclusion of their lo-fi anthem “Nuevas Bienvenidas” in our Juventud Bruta compilation. Turns out the catchy tune entered households across the States as part of an ad campaign by Lowe’s (who have also featured Furland and Carla Morrison in their commercials).
While “Hoy Es Hermoso” didn’t quite make Amor Elefante a household name, it sure exposed their infectious-yet-unassuming pop melody to the great scale of entertainment. The Argentine band keeps making the right moves, investing the money earned from the TV spot into the production of their gorgeous-sounding sophomore effort, Parque Miñaqui. From its structure to its content, this is an album that beats happiness from its very core. Not a departure from nor an extension of their self-titled debut, Parque Miñaqui should provide the band with more than mere momentum.
Whether blooming melodies in orchestrated assemblies (“Es Amor” and “La Chaperona”) or baring them on reliable guitar pop hues (“Tu Vida Es Magica”), Amor Elefante can craft pop music that feels simultaneously sad and celebratory. “No quiero dejar de jugar,” sighs singer Rocio Bermandiner in “Todo Podemos.” But as the assembly of instruments progresses, the desire to play turns into a rallying cry (“no quiero dejar de llorar”), making for one very moving coming of age piece. At 12 tracks long (of similar tones and ambitions), Parque Miñaqui does acquire a formality that’s hard to associate to a youth’s blinking nature, but like everything in the album’s thematic playground, even this flaw registers as something charming in its own little way.