Santa Nalga, Meneo

DressForExcessRecords, Spain/Guatemala
Rating: 63
by Andrew Casillas

Carlos Reyes, in addition to being one hell of a site runner, is also a great salesman. When he “asked” whether I wanted to review this album from Spanish via Central American electro-rock band Meneo, all he told me was that it was called Santa Nalga, and that it was “quite good.” Well, that’s all that I needed to hear. Seriously, why didn’t anyone else come up with that album title first? I’m looking at YOU Molotov (and also Genetallica). So applause to Meneo on that front. But sadly, the title may be the best thing about this album.

Not that it’s AWFUL per se. Meneo is the latest band to attempt to bridge the gap between Nintendo-beat programming and electro party pop, and for the most part succeed in making a satisfying party record. It all sounds fine as it’s going through your speakers, which is a satisfying accomplishment no doubt, but you’ll be hard pressed to recall any of it once the record finishes. Perhaps this could be attributed to the clear rawness of the band’s aesthetic, particularly their minimalist approach to programming, but for the most part, the album lacks a visceral component—something that’ll act as a counter to the clean and crisp sounds emanating from the speakers. The band seems to be trying to make a record for sweaty dancefloors, but there’s very little to grind to.

In fact, Meneo’s better tracks seem to come when they are at their most straightforward. “Licuadora” is a slick little opener, with its recurring dog barking, modal bassline, and sinister vocals. Likewise, “Subidon” takes a turn towards standard song structure, but packs it with nuanced percussion and intriguing leftfield noises that make it great to slot between Flex and Pitbull at your next house party. Ultimately, this record establishes a band with its fair share of progress, like a more primitive Crystal Castles. But as any indie follower can tell you, there are far too many bands trying to be Crystal Castles out there. I’m sure that next time, Meneo will come with a record that’s just as good as their album title.