Barrio Estacion, Los Bunkers

Los Bunkers, Chile

by: Carlos Reyes

In very few years Los Bunkers have proclaimed a status in the still developing rock scene in Chile. They are part of an interesting clan of talented rockers that are still trying to fix the decomposition La Ley left on the Chilean music industry. In an ambitious move to expand their popularity the band is now based in Mexico, which oddly but not surprisingly has tripled their recognition throughout Latin America. Barrio Estacion is their latest album; the premise is interesting to say the least. That almost blinding yellow cover is misguiding to the actual content of the disc. If you know Los Bunkers already you know a rush of dark misfits follows them everywhere.

The first single is “Deudas” is a conflicting track that took me a while for it to have an emotional reaction towards it. “I’m a bunch of bills that in life I won’t be able to pay”, a song about self actualization, self demoralization and emotional crisis. “And I have left my feet behind without knowing where they’re headed”, Los Bunkers go from the safe rock band revealed on their previous albums to actual musical consciousness. Generic rock exasperates my hearing, alternative music is like a consequence of Darwin’s law, now rock & roll doesn’t sound right, but I do wish all standard rock albums would have this level of lyrical perception to cover for the damaged genre.

In musical provisions Barrio Estacion doesn’t offer anything new from the band, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Los Bunkers just like their fellow Chilean band Lucybell have developed a trademark; we are still waiting for them to destroy every little piece of it. And they do show some effort in two unconventional tracks: the post-jazzy “Capablanca” and the risky reggae-oriented “El tiempo que se va.” Lead vocalist Alvaro Lopez has a distinctive voice that functions especially well through the bohemia of songs like “Me muelen a palos” and one destined to become a single: “Una nube cuelga sobre mi.”

Los Bunkers are working on a league of rock en español that seems to know where it’s headed, it’s a blurry vision that may take a few more years to fully mature and reproduce but Barrio Estacion portrays a sparkling confidence, and that’s its greatest virtue. We would like to see Los Bunkers working in contravention, just like the LA-based rock band Pastilla was able to achieve with A Marte. The album is available digitally, it might not be as accomplished as their acclaimed Vida de Perros, but it really deserves a U.S. release from either Universal Music or their adapted parents at Nacional Records.

Numeric Rating: 73/100

Key Tracks: "Deudas", "Me muelen a palos" and "Capablanca"