Fenomenos Naturales, La Naranja China


Cuatro Gatos, Spain ****

Rating: 80

By Carlos Reyes

If you are in to the accessible but yet complex soft ‘rock’ given by Andres Calamaro in his latest La Lengua Popular, you will love La Naranja China. In Spain (and probably all Europe), there is said to be a prejudice towards solo rock artists, people would immediately tag them as egocentric, so many opt to get creative titles that a band would usually use. Alex Olmedo brings his latest and most complete work yet. His work with previous bands and as a soloist were edgy and over-sensitive, his latest Fenomenos Naturales is more laidback as it confirms his influences towards The Beatles and The Hollies. From the start title “Aviones de Papel”, Olmedo shows emphasis on the craftsmanship of his guitar in which he even mediates pop and bluegrass hand on hand. The album feels very traditional throughout: crafty mood for the road trips and bright catharsis for the bohemia collapses. Olmedo having control over the entire trip is so evident especially in such multifaceted tracks like “Energia Positiva” which is probably the standout track here. Some will take it as a retro glimpse to the revolutionary soulful movement during the 70s. “Liquidando Limites” sounds a lot like Jet’s “Are you gonna be my girl”, a relief since La Naranja China proves to have the ability to connect with modern music as well. The first single is titled “Que te den” has a fun beat base as it explains why he is leaving his woman. Olmedo might just be aping his influences a bit too much on the final tracks as we feel its energy draining into safe territory. Lyrically, one of the highlights is “Si tu supieras” a track about fantasizing romanticism, “Sorry about me not telling you my friend, but I rather the world keep spinning like it is, I’m just a guy with some imagination.” If the song “Una Casita” had been released some 15 years ago, by this time it could have been a classic. Rock and poverty usually bring us the easiest songs to connect to; a man’s dream of having a house is an ultimate force here. This might be harder to buy than most albums I’ve reviewed and I couldn’t find any mp3, but I guess there is always Google.