Las Ardillas - Las Ardillas

Las Ardillas, Las Ardillas
Chacho Records, Puerto Rico
Rating: 81
by Carlos Reyes

When asked about the significance of the title El Juidero (a slang deviation for ‘the getway’), Rita Indiana Hernandez speaks about an inherited idiosyncrasy known as “la cultura diasporica.” She isn’t talking about the scattering of Jews outside Palestine in times of Babylonian exile, but about a congenital phenomenon in the people of the Caribbean. The regional shared link: feeling the need to run a way from settlement (either personal or political) and having the obligation of contemplating what goes beyond their surrounding waters. The renaissance novelist claimed that all Caribbean people were part of it, even those that stayed in their ancestral homeland.

For over 10 years, Puerto Rican enfant-terribles Las Ardillas have not only shown signs of that runaway diaspora link, they’re so consciously into it that they’ve actually looped its urgency notions into noise-auteur transcendence. The self-titled debut record from Las Ardillas is a daring and sonically traveling piece of noise punk. Sharing two members with the universally beloved Dávila 666 (which has reached a must-enlist status in the music festival circuit) means a few things in the consolidation of Las Ardillas: 1) it has prepared them to contemplate a fondness for an intercontinental stage, 2) it has forced at least two if its members to make a homecoming to earlier roots (in sound and in mapquest), and 3) it has thought them about intellectual reshuffling. The unlikely entourage comprised by Gianky, Koki, Raul, Gio, and Latin Snake may lack the bushy tail appendages of the rodents they’re named after, but at least in perception and spatial memory, they’re more than assuring with their noise punk ecosystem.

When listening to Las Ardillas you can’t help but to think they sound a lot like sister band Dávila 666. But, then again, Dávila sounds a lot like many bands from your college radio. Catchy hooks and disarming on-the-floor rummage speak for a band that has done its homework and carries its influences firmly on its sleeve. Like many revivalist bands, Las Ardillas stand on the tightrope between shared garage nostalgia and affection for pop succession. From its blasting opener “Cancion de Luz,” you can tell these guys are taking a shot toward eternal bliss. How do you even attempt to get to that privileged place on a first album? Well, you could start with yearning catchy lullabies and distorting them to the point of deformation. This is unadulterated and highly flammable Boricua rock.

This amount of a-la-carte demolition works because it is paired up with some of the most charming topics. In one song Las Ardillas sing for a generation that still moves to reggaeton (particularly on the island), on the next one, they dream about becoming Pelé. Structurally, Las Ardillas is a record that could be divided in two. Its first half is like a spare-kicking jumpstart that feels young and hopeful. It’s second half is much darker, with an almost arriving-at-halcyon sense of fatalism. When paring its most blistering tracks (“Nancy” & “Cuando canto esta cancion”) with its most brutal numbers (“Vivo o Muerto” & “El Tren”), you really empathize with the reasoning behind the decade lapse between the band’s formation and its first recording. Las Ardillas is in fact, an album that moves back and forth, one that runs away from resolution, feeling nostalgic on its very own.

♫♫♫ "El Tren" | Facebook


Brenda said...

This is very good. If you're into Davila, you'll love this. And it's not misogynistic like Tan Abajo.

Anonymous said...

Las Ardillas llevan casi 12 años dando tumbos por la isla de Puerto Rico. Desde que sus miembros eran pre adolescentes pertenecían a la escena subterranea, específicamente la punk rock. Davila si acaso suena como ellos y han sido influenciados por las Ardillas. Es bastante común en la isla que las bandas de la escena punk rock compartan miembros. En el caso de las Ardillas sus miembros han tocado en bandas como Panty Sniffers, Los Pepiniyos, Cellar Door, Los Anti-sociales, Gio y los Policías, etc. En resumidas cuentas, esta banda es un pilar dentro de la escena subterránea la cual ha sido influencias para un sin número de bandas... incluyendo a D666.

- **

Anonymous said...

"may lack the bushy tail appendages of the rodents they’re named after, but at least in perception and spatial memory, they’re more than assuring with their noise punk ecosystem.". qué frase más mamilas! creo que has leído a los autores (de reseñas) equivocados

Josébo said...

Indeed, this is a great album. I also concur with the second comment. Ardillas have been active in the local PR scene around for a while (longer than Dávila 666, in fact). Although it’s true the success enjoyed by D666 has attracted the attention of a greater audience, it’s important to remember there are a lot of great bands out there. But yeah that will definitely help explain the similarities they share music wise.

Other than that, I’ve never really understood the idea behind over complicating simple music reviews.
I mean really? The first half of your review has you trying to sloppily tie the concept of Caribbean Diasporas to a band just trying to play rock. I mean they’re a cool band and all, but lyric wise they’re minimalist and bare-bones. There’s no overtly transcendental analysis to be had, dude. That’s it (which is not always a bad thing). Deal with it.

Then there’s the bullshit about “…singing to a generation that still moves to reggueton” and “…being Pelé”, absent themes really, which only have me wondering if you actually listened to the album your reviewing. Maybe next time you should just let the music speak for itself, dude.


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