MARCHA, DJs PAREJA
Multinacional, Argentina ***1/2
By Juan Manuel Torreblanca
It took him 25 years to get there, but thanks to DJs Pareja, that sad runaway kid from Bronski Beat’s old hit Small Town Boy found a happy ending to his story and an open arms welcome to The Big City (and it’s liberating and promising nightlife) as the main character in Llegaste, the great opening track in this Argentinean couple’s second LP. At least, up to this starting point, I’d say that such a moving gesture deserves a round of applause on its own. Marcha has (almost) nothing to do with what most chilangos (those surviving Mexico City daily… like me) might think; no main avenues taken by naked teachers or campesinos demanding respect of their rights (unless we were to see that as part of a gay-pride parade). Diego Irasusta & Mariano Caloso chose this title for all its possible definitions; I found that electronic music used to be called that way in Argentina, but now it probably relates better to the Spanish way of referring to a night out partying: ir de marcha.
Here we have a cool, elegant techno-pop/post-disco record. Less is more is a philosophy that they understand. And hearing the whole album closely, you can tell that it was carefully crafted by two skilled pairs of ears who seriously enjoy playing with sound. Fun. Upbeat (despite a charming feeling of drowsy after-party dancing). Smart. Ironic. I often have found Argentineans to have a way with words that other Spanish-speakers could envy, Djs Pareja are no exception to my observation, though the lyrics in Marcha are not always up to par. Delightful & playful imagery can be found in "Nuestros Trajes" (“escapemos mi amor quiero verte correr, correr hacia mí, caerte y sonreir”, this really tender scene depicting your loved one running towards you at the beach really shines amidst a clever collection of snapshots from an office routine shared by both lovers), "Gente Copada" (which paints for us a Jordi Labanda-like crowd of over-tanned pijos inspired by a nasty DJing-for-the-super-rich experience), and "Calle Sin Salida" (which suggests some erotic automotive adventures over a beat that reminds me 2006’s James Figurine and his gorgeous Apologies); yet there are some passages that leave me just a tad underwhelmed, like "8 Preguntas" (which ruins for me what was a terribly interesting long instrumental intro, with a really unnecessary melody, plus those promised 8 questions turn out to be sorta whiny and could’ve remained in a private diary as they don’t really add enough to the whole album, in my humble opinion) and "Spanish is Beautiful" (which half-jokingly addresses a topic that has been relevant within modern Latin music for quite a while now: “why don’t you sing in Spanish?” if it’s your mother tongue “the language of your heart, the language of your soul”; not a bad song at all, but –still– I kinda feel they had a brilliant idea, they grabbed an excellent subject, raw material for what could’ve become an anthem for our times… and they gave us a rather shallow & half-baked argument).
Now, I don’t wanna end on this severe note. I’d prefer to do so commending their exciting synth work all over, or the fantastic collaborators (Juliana Gattas, from Miranda!, in "Llegaste", and some funky & melancholic guitars from Leo García & Diosque). Giving kudos to Ismael Pinkler for helping make Marcha sound clear and powerful. Adding that Mariano’s vocals work really well here (and almost make me want to go on in praise of a more spoken singing, but this is enough from me already). And thanking Javiera Mena for leading the blog’s ears to this project. If I’ve done a good job, you’ll leave my text curious to hear DJs Pareja and… you know? that’s all I wanted to do here.