Pelo Music, Argentina
by Carlos Reyes
Seven years have passed since four-piece glam pop avalanche Miranda! broke into the popular conscious and, to this date, they’re still Argentina’s most beloved (and yet so divisive) definition of a band as a pop institution. We’re no longer living in the golden age of the ringtone, and FM radio is still as fucked up as before, and yet the extension of Miranda! as a relevant player in music this decade seems quite assured. Always fearless in their radical melodic approach and still commenting on the correlation, coherence, and contradictions between love and electro beats, the band’s fifth full-length album, Magistral, is a safe continuation to a career that has been anything but safe throughout the years.
Whether it’s been through well-crafted aesthetics (like their gothic and bondage image in Es Imposible!) or a confinement of witty topics, Miranda! has always made sure their albums outshine their own personality. In Magistral, we get exactly the opposite. Before you get the impression the band has lost its edge, let’s get one thing straight, Magistral is not a bad album whatsoever, it’s just not as well crafted as its older siblings. The first signal of Miranda! stepping on middling ground (for the very first time) is the lack of an epic-aspirant single that could either exploit or redirect the band’s candy beats into that retro-futuristic bridge they’ve been trying to collapse since their very first album. Instead, we get two upfront singles (“Ya Lo Sabia” and “Ritmo & Decepcion”) that, although catchy as hell, only seem to add to the common perception of Miranda! as a pupil of Spanish pop pioneers Fangoria.
If you aren't already a fan of Miranda! at this course of the race, then Magistral will do very little to change that. But devoted fans will enjoy some of the album’s subtle gestures and dance-induced variations as if they were secretive, inside jokes. Album standouts include the nerve-breakdown and ultimately nostalgic “10 Años Despues” and the attempt at synchronizing romance between Ale Sergi’s high-pitched vocals and a voice decoder in "No Pero No." Yet it is Juliana Gattas who provides the vocals in the album’s peak moment, “Cada Vez Que Decimos Adios.” This song is round, full of movement, and as intricate as any song in Al Vuelo or Música, Gramática, Gimnasia. Magistral may lack personality, but it’s yet another okay album from a band that has yet to put out a bad album. Also, Magistral is the kind of well-restrained, perhaps more serious album that might finally get Ale Sergi the recognition of a top-class songwriter.