Jan-Simon : Few cd’s have been stuck in my cd player like ‘Inerte’, the second album by South-Spanish power trio Atavismo. As if it was an addictive computer game, I wanted to hear the album again – and again. Praise the repeat button.
‘Inerte’ is an album that takes hold of you and does not let go, that’s the easy part of the review. It is much harder to explain what makes this such an exceptionally good album. One could start with the melodic part of the music: the album’s five songs are varied but always ingenious in their composition. Nice subdued guitar solos and intricate drumming are held together by clearly present bass lines. In other words, this is a well-produced album on which all instruments have the chance to shine. As a bonus, there is the mellotron, instrument of choice if you want to create an authentic vintage sound.
But there is more than that and this undefinable and intangible part is what differentiates a truly good album from one that is just fine. ‘Inerte’ mixes sixties, rough heavy psych, progressive rock and even Atavismo’s Spanish background. Especially in the opening song ‘Pan Y Dolor’ (‘Bread and pain’) there are guitar chords clearly inspired by local flamenco tradition. At least, that’s my opinion. The band says the song is a tribute to the legendary (at least in Spain) flamenco rock band Triana, which was completely unknown to me. ‘Pan Y Dolor’ consists of two equal parts characterized by slow flowing guitar solos and enthusiastic chords on an acoustic guitar that summon imaginary handclapping and other clichés of Spain. The two parts are bridged by a mellotron driven intermezzo. Just when you think the song is finished, the base theme from the first part returns for a furious closing part. This is a very cleverly composed song.
My Spanish is pretty weak, but I think I heard the word “Sueño” (“dream”) being used in almost every song. I am afraid I will never know what the songs are about, but when the music is floating and dreamy, there must be a clear link between lyrics and music and chances are the lyrics are as dreamy as the music. The second – and longest song on the album is even called ‘El Sueño’ and is more rock and riff propelled. It also shows the clear influence of early Pink Floyd on Atavismo. Hidden between the riffs and the solos there is an echo to ‘Astronomy Domine’ and other early Floyd tracks.
The vocal harmonies and synthesizer noises create a very special Hispanic space trip that – as mentioned earlier - leaves one craving for more. Perhaps this is the proper time to reserve a spot on next year’s Roadburn festival?