Magical Radiophonic Heart, Banda de Turistas

Magical Radiophonic Heart.
Banda de Turistas

Nacional Records, Argentina
Rating: 79
By Jean-Stephane Beriot

Argentina’s new most hyped band had never been (properly) reviewed by Club Fonograma, now, that’s a surprise. I base myself between the states and Buenos Aires, so I’ve been obviously exposed to all the justifiable attention the band has come to receive, and I’ve witness how it has expanded its wings throughout the continent. For the last three years or so, Argentinean rock has struggled to swim in its own ocean; something awful considering this is perhaps our rock’s historic nation. Thing is, its rock is stuck, not to generalize, but it’s hard to find good rock-alt or even good pop acts emerging from this country, folk and cumbia are the blossoming genres and hopes for this near-collapsed industry.

So when a band like Banda de Turistas pops up out of nowhere, it’s a surprise and a hint for a possible renaissance. The band has that college vibe while maintaining a sense of rock formation. Although they don’t go full retro, these are songs are aware of their history, that by itself makes them contextual rather than mere toe-tapping pieces. On top of the good music, they show skill while keeping the feeling that they’re just kids (ok, serious low-note kids). The release of this album is a bit tricky, combining both of their albums Magico Corazon Radiofonico (badass title) and El Retorno for the band’s first U.S. release. This kind of structure adjustment takes away from the romanticism of the albums and their unique identity, not to mention my favorite track “Sueño 0” from the first album was left out. Also, a 15-track listing is a bit much for a non-conceptual album (and the artwork is weak to say the least, which can’t be said about the original Argentinean releases). But mad props to Nacional for putting it out on the market, it’s as wise as their decision to sign Hello Seahorse! and Quiero Club this side of the border.

But as in any case, it’s all about the songs, and with brilliant stuff like “Todo mio el otoño” and “Lo Comandas”, one comes to appreciate and celebrate this release either way. I’m stunned at how well they conceal their songs, they clearly see them as individual parts (hence the brilliant titles). “El Rogadero” is amazing, national irony on the hands of nostalgic kids, mesmerizing, “no escucharemos mas ni un solo ruego, no es que no queramos, es que no podemos.” Then there is “Un verdadero cajón de madera”, perhaps their biggest hit and best moment yet. I can’t find a better way to describe the song and the band itself than by quoting Carlos Reyes (CF’s ears & brain): “One of those kite songs, so round and attached to its beat that it becomes a flying object, a song on continuum. Because of its peculiar form, it’s hard to keep up with its lyrics, but don’t fear, try shoegaze and soon you’ll find yourself holding the string. They’re far more than just some Babasonicos pupils; it’s the start of a great new Argentinean band.”