Il Abanico - Crossing Colors

Crossing Colors, Il Abanico
Independiente, Colombia/USA
Rating: 75
By Carlos Reyes

Swirls of subtle beats, nuances of rhythmic lines, and beguiling lyrical passages comprise the beautifully structured, and overall gorgeous debut by Boston-based act Il Abanico. Juliana Ronderos and Nicolas Losada merge the warmth of their native Colombia with the windy life of Boston, crafting five self-produced pieces that go from the romantic to the sardonic. Just a bit too glossy for the DIY panorama, and just a bit too splendidly messy for the academic, Il Abanico’s widespread premise outlines the start of an exciting duo to follow.

Il Abanico plays with a wide-range of instrumental inquisition, executing notes beautifully more often than not. Crossing Colors sequences hints of domestic bliss with the spectrum of a flowershop, a smart (and cleaner than you think) mediation of the artists’ lives and the streets they walk on. Leading track “Keep Calling” is like a nice shower of broken sincerity, where the band builds a folksy atmosphere (hinting romance) and later, (through chord-progressions) transports it into sadomasochistic territory. In the mystic “The Light," the band shows how it is possible to maintain a sense of lyrical autonomy (“awkward silence, dark, and embracing light”), telling a whole different story with its pristine, beautifully revealed delicacy.

The heart of the album (and only track in Español) is like Juan Molina meeting Natalia Lafourcade (in her y La Forquetina era). “Solo quiero respirar el silencio en el mar,” sings Juliana in a rising, almost vigilant voice. Heavy rhythm sections and tender vocal-driven passages follow until crashing into an inevitable climax that feels like a giant wave that either vanishes or elevates our subject’s hopeful return to the shoreline. Closing tracks “Cold Outside” and “Songs of Love” point in the right direction and are perhaps the most preeminently produced numbers, and that makes them feel a bit disjointed from the rest of the chaotic cascade. Although not entirely round, Crossing Colors is a record of serious revelation. Add a few more songs to the mix (hopefully in Spanish) and we could be talking about an essential. For what it is, it’s pretty darn good.