El Mañana – Muertos

Muertos, El Mañana
Fanclub Records, Mexico
Rating: 71
by Marty Preciado

Fernando de Buen, singer-songwriter and front man of El Mañana currently based in Chicago, released Muertos, his LP debut under Fanclub Records, based in Mexico City. To fully understand and grasp the concept of Muertos it’s important to backtrack three years. In 2011, El Mañana released their debut EP under Discos Cuchillo. Back then, the EP acted as a defining hallmark to their sound: noise bathed in synths.

Muertos remains loyal to its noise but undergoes a subtle transformation, this time it’s primarily based and deeply rooted in folk music. However, there are no strings attached to the folk genre. The album breaks music paradigms with its unexpected turns. Positively speaking, it feels as if it is a long drive on a flat road and, after countless miles, it hits a sharp turn, agitating one to a different scenario.

“Para Morir” is a perfect example of the aforementioned. The song immediately starts off with vocals on an acoustic guitar. It delivers raw composition, no effects. Yet, as soon as one is comfortably becoming accustomed to harmonious vocals and to its downbeat guitar chords, the unexpected turn comes into the song. We experience a Lynch-esque eerie buildup noise of pedal effects and sliding guitar. An unexpected finale, it breaks its composition, steps outside of its aesthetic boundary. And it’s exactly this musical turn that has made Muertos a pleasant surprise.

“Lentamente,” aggressively positions itself and paves the sound for the rest of the album, serving as the musical backbone and identity for the upcoming songs. The opening track has ideal credentials; little over eight minutes bathed in open-heart and emotionally felt lyrics with noise and folk colliding with each other. It’s a mad scientist lab, experimenting sounds and creating new formulas, with jaw-dropping results.

Eight tracks, three years later, under a new label and with great ambition, El Mañana delivers an album that holds an enigmatic aura, it stays away from solemn patterns and beautifully exerts a mature identity through a wide array of meticulous composition and fine musical arrangement. Muertos is raw and honest; it’s a whisper in the dark, the remaining ray of light in the crumbling of the night.