Hello Seahorse! - Lejos. No Tan Lejos

Lejos. No Tan Lejos, Hello Seahorse!
MUN, México
Rating: 79
By Jean-Stephane Beriot

Being labeled as Mexico’s new great band is a heavy title, but Hello Seahorse! keeps things in perspective, persisting on a personal artistic approach that’s unattached to their increasing popularity. By now, many of us have completely forgotten about their sunny-bright beginnings. In a matter of two years, Hello Seahorse! grew up into a multidimensional band with the ideas and skill to merit universal acclaim. The buzz for Bestia began almost a year prior to its release, the industry smelled a potential masterpiece, and they delivered nothing less than that. After a couple of Latin Grammy nominations, an MTV award, and massive crowds singing “Bestia” (Vive Latino, Rock Al Parque) the band got back to the studio fairly quick (perhaps too soon).

As opposed to what was expected, the release of Lejos. No Tan Lejos has been somewhat underwhelming; there’s barely any buzz around it, and although “Casa Vacia” is fairly great, no one can argue it is miles away from a potential hit. There isn’t a single anthem in the album, and it’s missing the coherence of its predecessors, but their fourth release isn't disappointment at all. Album opener “Ginebra Dulce” upfronts the album’s intense display of LoBlondo’s vocals, which are literally formatted as an instrument throughout the album. And this is where Hello Seahorse! either triumphs or disappoints. When they get it right (Casa Vacia, 7 Dias, Perla Blanca) they really sound like they’re on top of their progression, other pieces just feel like self-assuring jazzy fillers (Fieras, La Tumba, Lejos No Tan Lejos).

“Un Año Quebrado” is the album’s most accomplished track; it’s the one point in the album where all the melodious rumbling is given an actual form. Lo Blondo’s crescendos are endorsed in an almost monumental way through the band’s industrialized hooks. The other really high moment in the album is the heart trenching live-recorded “Velo de Novia.” You just can’t get any darker than this; it roars its electronics and are picked up by haunting Ranchero-Opera passages. Lyrically, it’s a hard one to pass on as well, “lagrimas que yo guardaba para ti.” The album is not an extension of Bestia, this is more of a transitory album where they have set new horizons. Their vision is blurry and their ambition is profound, yet Lejos. No Tan Lejos (produced by Money Mark & Yamil Rezc) is an interesting step on the band’s competence to test and stylize music through nostalgic lens.