Since we don’t have a Pop and Rock en Español radio station in Austin, we aren’t aware of all of the innovative, new bands coming out of Mexico. Hello Seahorse! became one of those groups when they released their lighthearted and playful first album ...And the Jellyfish Parade in 2006 followed by Bestia in 2009. Those days of warm sunshine and bubblegum pop have passed for everything that made them a delight in previous albums has been temporarily displaced from their new album, Lejos. No tan Lejos. Brooding vocals, frenetic synth and oppressive percussion make it seem like all of the earlier pop goodness was taken far away to the jungles of Mexico in exchange for hallucinogens and darkness.
But, you know what, artists experiment or else they wouldn’t be called artists.
As the album title states “Far. Not that Far.” Hello Seahorse! is “not that far” from creating a great album. The album is different from what they became famous for and you can’t be mad at them for trying. Artists need to explore and Hello Seahorse! has done so. They have gone from whimsical and happy pop to heavy attempts at their idea of avant-garde. Songs such as “Casa Vacía” and “Perla Blanca” are on the right track but seem too confined within the apparent need to be artistic leaving the musical progression disjointed in each song and throughout the album. Lo Blondo’s voice is stunning and can be extremely adaptive but the vocals in the album diminish its own beauty as well as the instruments worth.
Lejos. No Tan Lejos. is a worthy and artistic endeavor into the darker side of life fusing industrial clinks and clangs with pipe organs and haunting vocals. When you listen to past albums of Hello Seahorse! you can easily understand that they are developing. They are young and talented individuals therefore great things are probably just outside of the tangled jungle vines in which they have found themselves. Unfortunately, I am going to give this album a pass and hope for better in the future. In the meantime Bestia will remain on my playlist and I will be happy.
Watch the music video for “Un Año Quebrado” below: