Los Waldners - Eclipse Total Del Corazón

Eclipse Total Del Corazón, Los Waldners
Independiente, Costa Rica
Rating: 77
by Pablo Acuña

From their first single, "Ella Usaba Vestidos," everything about Los Waldners seemed like a considered and ingenious decision: their name's undertones of both facelesness and creativity (named after the Swedish table tennis player Jan-Ove Waldner known as "the table tennis Mozart"). They came, a gang of four, like a beam of enlightening warmth into the detached coldness that characterized the Costa Rican music scene last year. Led by Luis Carballo, an eccentric loner who seemed destined to drift towards a more healthy career as a ping pong player and whose youth-love relationships naturally spread into his cutting lyrical work, Los Waldners is like a package that opens up and brings us something.

Something intimate. Their debut album Eclipse Total Del Corazón's lyrics are part of what makes this band so refreshing and so real. Carballo’s words cut through the stylish bullshit, turning the experience of many dissatisfied young men and women into something as anthemic and poetic as it is relatable and intimate. Lines such as "Quizás no es tanto que me hagas falta / Tal vez no sé cómo dejarte ir" in opener track "Papalotes," about saying goodbye to someone, hit pretty close to home. Carballo sings "Porque estamos empeñados en alcanzar el sol aunque eso signifique una vez más caer" on “Ícaro,” the most melancholic cut from the album. It’s a subtle lyric that manages to sum up nearly everything lovable about the band: their explorations through nostalgic familiar grounds.

Something beautiful. Carballo's displays some kind of shadowy stories with some delicate melancholy that breaks you down into a watery mess. It's natural for a listener, to try giving meaning to these lyrics by putting it in the right context. For me as a simple outsider of the band, it becomes a really difficult task to interpret them, but I can safely assure that these songs are connected to something greater, something that is meaningful to someone else. And this is the beauty of this LP, that as we are unable to figure out who is behind these honest stories by our own ("Rodolfo," I'm looking at you), we are left with no other option than to give them meaning with our own experiences.

Something sweet. As stunning as his lines are, Los Waldners wouldn’t be as utterly revered as they are if it weren’t for the vital musical counterpart led by Daniel Ortuño – truly one of Costa Rica's most remarkable musicians/producers. Ortuño's chemistry with Carballo is remarkable, creating smooth transitions, and a lot of clean, melodic guitar hooks. Like lets be honest, who hasn't felt in love of the opener guitar in "Papalotes"? Or what about the exceedingly jangly fretwork in "Horacio"?

Something out of place. Approaching the LP's less memorable moments, “Nunca nos Fuimos” and "Lo Mismo" can drag, partly because both attempt to sound bigger than they actually are. These songs could’ve easily being two of the record’s most enjoyable moments if ambition would've been scaled back.

Something triumphant. Los Waldners have had reached a remarkable status with their debut album. And this isn't easy for a Costa Rican band, it is something far more intriguing and off-kilter, it is indie-pop at its most stirring and enduring. This is the sort of record that will probably improve with age. It will sound even better next summer, the summer after that, and hopefully five years from now, when no one remembers or cares what label the group was signed to, but only the near pitch-perfect pop they put down on tape.