Mushroom Pillow, Spain
by Andrew Casillas
I can’t identify what’s great about this band, but every listen is powerful and cathartic and…hazy. Yet, there’s not a doubt in my mind that what TAB does is special and outstanding. And with their third full-length, the mesmerizing Victoria Mística, they continue their quick ascent towards venerability.
Victoria Mística is a concept album of sorts—spirits, magi, and human unrest all come into play—but lyrical themes matter nothing to the ownage within. While their previous two albums contained a handful of marvelous lyrically-driven songs (including the untouchable “El Fantasma De La Transición”), their latest operates best when left to their histrionic id. Gone is the primal (but still of its time) group from the self-titled debut. Instead, TAB is delineating the terms of this party. From the opening shred of “Robo Tu Tiempo” to the closing lilt of “Clara,” Victoria Mística swirls and shreds its way into your skull for a half hour, without letting up.
Not that it’s particularly aggressive. Victoria Mística contains more breathing space than TAB's prior albums, and, most key, the band knows how to use these moments for maximum impact. Most special is “Un Rayo De Sol.” What would have previously been a downer on either of its predecessor records, the vocal track is lifted right into the front, and the instruments leave their plumbing exposed for your picking. Then the breakdown arrives for the final 90 seconds before dissolving into a thump of victory. One wishes that the melodies were as strong as on Año Santo, but we’d just be nitpicking. If you can't find a thousand things to love here, you need new ears.
TAB is far past the point where you can point to your favorite My Bloody Valentine album track as proof of quality. Where MBV and their other heroes have long since given up musically evolving and their sonic contemporaries escaped the nostalgia wave, TAB keep propelling themselves past black sunglasses and evolutionary scuzz. Instead, this is a band quickly reaching new and longer-sustaining peaks. Don’t get lost in the haze.