Truccatore, Domingo En Llamas
By Carlos Reyes
Domingo en Llamas is the audacious project of José Ignacio Benítez, a bright young artist from Venezuela responsible of producing Jóvenes y Sexys’ Bruno EP and whose delightful songs are nothing short from exhilarating. Domingo en Llamas is a vigorous experience; Benitez has an eye for history and a fascination for words. The obvious prototype for such description would add up to a ‘trovador’, and in a way, it fits him. But he is a rare breed of virtuoso; a kind of Dave Longstreet meets Alexander Sokurov and then some. But when you have such a distinct voice and a naturally pleasing way to let it out, it’s easy to dismiss the folksy in it and discover its wild attributes, mostly in its lyrics.
Truccatore (makeup artist in Italian) distances from Fledermaus (2008) as it moves away from strings, to instead, boost up its harmonies, percussion and electric guitars. This is wonderfully crafted; precise symphonies for mountain sing-along chants. The most significant shift from one album to another is the quintessence from which this album takes its course. Instead of the folksy mountaintop songs in Fledermaus, in Truccatore we get something closer to rock ‘n’ roll; which makes everything go up a notch (and complicates things), including its provocative traits and its country-side extravaganza. Without making a freak show or a musical out of it, Truccatore handles eroticism as if it was second nature, something truly admirable and distinct. The opening track “Poltergeist” opens up the sardonic stage with enough energy to surprise to scratch out its brash pierce.
Unlike his last installment, this album does need a fair amount of invest as some songs become claustrophobic and hard to breathe on. Specifically “Concertina Celesta” and “Danza de San Blas” which sound eternal, to the point of fatigue. But almost everything else in Truccatore is great; starting with the extraordinary “Ofensas Florales” which oddly enough reminded me of a time I assisted Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses, meaning that this is a spectacle of all sorts (and it can be fascinating and pale out easily). While Benítez’s word choice might be more complicated than your average lyricist, I’d say André Bazin would approve his condition as an auteur that keeps and reflects his personality in his art, but is conscious that he is a participant of a bigger whole, the 'no man is its own island rule.'
Domingo En Llamas shines in “Somos los bandidos del ritmo”, a verocious display of symphonic control, vocal heights and most importantly, how well time is managed through forward-pause-stop-rewind motion. “Vibratio Del Patio” is equally stunning, the accommodation of its orchestral sides are perfectly framed with its melodic detours. On top of that, lyrically, it’s the best song in the album; “Cada 20 años vienes por mi… Cada cicatriz significa un febrero… Cada 25 años mueves los mares.” Truccatore is a sophisticated album, sometimes too agressive and conflicting on its sepia universe, but it's adventurous as well as imaginative, always keeping its pedestrian spirit as the main force of its crescendos.