Like I mentioned in my review, Manos de Topo is a challenge, actually the most conflicting record I've had to review thus far for this blog. I chat A LOT with my collaborators, seriously the coolest guys to have around, Jean-Stephane Beriot and Andrew Casillas, and this is a transcript from a gmail chat session we had on Wednesday, Andrew and I discussing El Primero Era Mejor, the latest inclusion to the Best New Music corner.
Carlos: oh my god... i think i'm giving Manos de Topo 4 starszzzz, I don't wanna do it?
Andrew: as long as it isn't fucking 5!!!!.. you know what?
Carlos: you're like my therapist...
Andrew: I'm thinking, if I hate it, I'll write a counterpoint and we'll put it a few days later, that's if I HATE it though
Carlos: oh my.. it's good! … you won't hate it
Andrew: solid...I'll give it a run-through
Carlos: ahhhh... seriously... i don't think i have ever been so conflicted, but I’m playing it a LOT
Andrew: then you probably really like it
Carlos: or I’m going nuts..
Andrew: give what you wanna give...but I swear to God...
Andrew: should I be laughing at this?
Carlos: um... why? , sounds perfectly normal (lol) haha
Andrew: the first song sounds a bit like that Chicha Libre album, until he starts singing
Carlos: the music is GRRREEAAAT
Andrew: the music sounds cool at first
Carlos: and when his voice shows up
Andrew: spaghetti western keyboards!
Carlos: it's like... shit... what happened
Andrew: ummm... this is, a bit grating
Carlos: oh i like that word
Andrew: it's mainly the production...why are they putting his vocals so much up front? it's taking away completely from the music, which is very Los Campesinos! like, but doesn't seem to have any highs or lows (yet, I'm only on track 3)
Carlos: it's like very theatrical, dramatic, kinda singular, oh my … it’s a hard one!
Andrew: the singing is theatrical; I wouldn't say the same about the music
Carlos: it's like a little cute monster
Andrew: the music is DIY twee
Carlos: I mean.. an ugly monster... but with charm lol
Andrew: see, I'm trying to figure out what you mean by "charm", it's cute in spots, yes, but not really "charming"
Carlos: I think so, I mean, overall, the songs are all about deceptions, heartbroken instances etc., it’s like the guy is drunk or somethin’
Andrew: I can tell in the lyrics (which I don't like to really focus on, personal critical thing) that it's about "broken hearts," but the music and the singing don't really equate for me. "Que me pasa doctor?" seems to be the most congruent so far. It has actually SECTIONS to it
Carlos: I love that one, “Logico que salga mal” is the single, I’m crazy, but reminds me of Café Tacvba.
Andrew: OMGGGGGGG, that single better be fucking awesome, man, this is NOT looking good.
Carlos: haha, I’m thinking it will range somewhere among 77 to 81, for me, nothing less
Andrew: nothing LESS than 77?
Andrew: OK, last song coming up... you’re kinda right about the Café Tacvba reference at the end… but Café Tacuba doesn’t really SOUND like that musically
Carlos: I know, I know, but still you get the vibe
Andrew: this is by far the best song though
Carlos: in part because of the 'backup' vocals...I still wish he wasn’t so overdramatic vocally
Andrew: and finished, I give it a 41
Carlos: U suck
Andrew: dude, even musically it wasn't entirely stimulating, not much variation in tempo, instrumentation was kinda pedestrian, I actually got a bit tired towards the end
Carlos: I’m sure, I did too… at first
Andrew: I'll definitely give it another spin
Carlos: the chat transcript is like better than your counterpart review idea ... haha
Andrew: hell, post that then, it might work, put dual grades, yours can be “official”
Carlos: I might, but heck, I’m almost done with my review
Andrew: wimp, haha, post the transcript as the “counterpoint” then
Carlos: yeah... 'cause I’m sure other people will feel like you... I'm SURE
Andrew: I have no fucking doubt
Carlos: I mean... I’ve exposed my readers to something like Hidrogenesse and Joe Crepusculo... but this is colossal!
Andrew: colossal suck, more like it. AND THAT'S HOW WE END THE TRANSCRIPT
Carlos: No, I'll end it. Bitch