Defensa EP, Torreblanca



Defensa EP, Torreblanca

Independiente, Mexico

Rating: 85

By Carlos Reyes


It was around 2007 when I first came across the music of Juan Manuel Torreblanca, an instant MySpace music crush that turned into friendship. It’s hard writing objectively about a friend’s music, it’s even harder if that friend happens to be an occasional (sharp and amazing) contributor to your website. Have no doubt, there’s sentimental tissue here that tunes my senses into Torreblanca’s music. Instead of trying to approach this as an outsider, I’ve decided to embrace the proximity between the ‘critic’ and the artist, not allowing such conditions to overthrow this review’s sincerity and heartfelt study.

Juan Manuel has come a long way since cutesy songs a la “Pancakes” or “Nada Me Saca de la Cama”, his music has evolved into songs that are hard to spoil, between the brimming and the transcendental, and the nihilist soundscape. Under the format of a band, Torreblanca exclaims autonomy in all four tracks that comprise the captivating and far-fetched debut Defensa EP. And it doesn’t hurt to have Andrea Balency as a member of the band; she does some of the most outstanding vocals I’ve heard in a while. This is a pop record worth of investment on just about any of its layers; it’s polite, agonizing, audacious, but most of all, an overture of music’s very own virtues and contradictions.

First single “Defensa” is a puzzling rare track, a sort of extravagant shout on guilt and pleasures hard to resist. Defensa EP is built on beautiful struggles and unconceivable victories. Despite its warmth, I found the overall journey to be a riveting violent record, only subtle to those “in the mood for love.” Torreblanca holds its romantic spirit in its classical and ravishingly modern constitution. Particularly in the richly textured “Parece Navidad”, where the orchestral passages parallel to the on&offs of a light bulb. Either as a mournful welcoming of Christmas (“te digo la verdad, yo me porte muy mal”) or a moment of meditation (“mentiras, mentiras, mentiras, ya no!”), the song is an absolute beauty.

“Largo” is collaboration with best pal Natalia Lafourcade, and another page in understanding Defensa’s curiously uplifting strength. It’s a deliciously painful song, “tengo miedo tengo mucho mucho miedo”, comforting and distressing at the same time. The song is well-grounded, unfolding its leaves on a “me quiere no me quiere” fashion which is as terrifying and faltering as silence itself, hearing Juan singing “algo, digan algo” brought me to tears. Torreblanca proves to be dynamic in the bombastic “Nunca Acabo Lo Que Empiezo” featuring LoBlondo from Hello Seahorse! Like Patrick Wolf or PJ Harvey, Juan Manuel Torreblanca’s vocals flirt with music in unexpected manners. The song’s imaginative and dripping brushes reconcile Torreblanca’s anxiety to portray pain as a valuable, healing and untamed resource for inspiration. A wonderful, edgy and ferocious debut.

11 comments :

Gu said...

Wow, what a wonderful take on this!

Micki said...

torreblanca is love!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

lidopimienta said...

Torreblanca the band-
Each member is incredible, hard-core musicians who are constantly rehearsing and devoting themselves to their instruments.

Amazing people and always thinking about sound, loving each other-supporting one another, as if they were climbing up a wooden ladder-On fire.

Juan Manuel Torreblanca-
I find amazing how nervous he gets when he does not practice his piano, i mean, his piano basically grows out of his hands.
He has taken me under his wing and has opened many doors to me in Mexico, including his own, from where I a writing this now.

Luckily he is out and about with my Tiny Box and band mates while I rest, other wise it would be kind of weird to wrire about him while he sits next to me!

All love aside though.
This music is serious, esto es otra cosa.

I am very in touch with the bright side of sound as well as the dark side of sound, and I think I prefer the second one.
The way that he warms up a dark spot without being cute is amazing to me, i dont even know how to describe it. It is a dark beauty, a beautiful nightmare, like when you drop a glass of whine and it brakes, you know its going to stain the floor, your clothes and you might get cut, but it looks so beautiful and the sound of the crystal soothes you too.

Hands down-Genius.

Carla Morrison said...

amo a mi amiguito juan! y lo que dice lido es tan cierto y tan hermoso!!!!!

cesar said...

I love Torreblancaaaa!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

que pendejada

de una vez lo hubieran dejado escribir su propia reseña.

jean-stephane said...

torreblanca es amor

Juan Manuel Torreblanca said...

nunca habría escrito yo la reseña, y si la hubiera escrito yo habría sido pura anécdota y nada de crítica porque es imposible que yo me juzgue...

pero de ahí a decir que lo que escribe carlos es una pendejada...

él escribió sobre mi música mucho antes de que yo tuviera una banda y antes de que yo aplicara para ser colaborador...

tal vez sería un poco más una "pendejada" que tuviera que dejar de escribir sobre la música de TORREBLANCA porque yo he colaborado con este blog...

gracias carla, lido, micki, cesar, jean-stephane y desde luego carlos!

sin un espíritu de comunidad y apoyo colectivo no se sobrevive la independencia (a menos que seas millonario)... ojo que eso no significa que se tenga que perder el ojo -o el oído- crítico...

pero como bien dice un letrero en un camellón de ciudad satélite... mismo que también surge del anonimato: Criticar es fácil, bienvenido el trabajo.

y yo sé lo cabronamente complejo y difícil que es sacar un disco... y también sé la pasión que tiene carlos reyes por ese arte, así que para mí es un honor que haya escrito.

no es como si lo hubiera escrito, yo, no vivimos en una canción de timbiriche, es más ni siquiera lo conozco en persona...

pero sí le tengo cariño y respeto!

gracias a todos

j

cesar alan said...

eres único Sr. Torreblanca

Anonymous said...

Coño, que piano y que voz.

Anonymous said...

No júzgo el éxito de Juan Manuel, me encanta su música, pero presiento que comenzara a quemarse en unos años.
y___y
Att: Monsieur Atroce

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