by Carlos Reyes
“You’re one of those people who likes to stare at accidents” says the punching opening line in Los Punsetes’ brutally visceral, “Accidentes.” Argentine composer Juan Roman Diosque strikes me as one of those people. Through his music, he defies the proportions of a bird’s-eye elevated view to instead observe its subjects at a depraved proximity. There’s something very neurotic about an anti-panoramic songwriter (e.g. Marco Antonio Solís), especially when the short distance devotion hints early symptoms of voyeurism and, even more fascinating, paraphilia. But Diosque’s condition as a romantic makes him less concerned about carnal fervor and more thoughtful about the retrenchment of emotional restriction.
Co-produced by Daniel Melero, Diosque’s latest album, Bote, is like the gore-less, musical follow-up to David Cronenberg’s Crash. But please don’t expect motorized collisions or body scarring as the prime stimulants of this ride, we’re dealing with a different kind of impact here. As with most mavericks of lyrical spacing, Diosque plays with timing and tangents more than your average singer-songwriter. In fact, throughout the 13-track album, Diosque’s vocals have a prime mission: catching up to the melody. “Pienso en la distancia cuando estoy con vos, y pienso en vos cuando estoy a la distancia,” sighs Diosque in one of the songs, making his affinity for emotional dimension thrive for balance. Blending synth harmonies with dreamy grooves, Bote is another piece of the impressive harvest coming out of the province of Tucuman, which last year brought us lovely albums from Luciana Tagliapietra and Violeta Castillo.
Profound themes demand profound molding, and this is exactly where Diosque’s anxiety to keep things close finds absolute gist. Album single “La Dictadura de tu Belleza” has the gradual delivery of Grizzly Bear and the shimmering vastness of Gepe. This track finds Diosque singing about a dictating beauty that blinds the heart and molds it into throbbing, remorseful defaults. In an album that pulls its thumps from unconventional corners, Bote feels aptly modulated. Yet, in the ferrying of dualistic ideas, the clashing of folk and electronic shades sometimes only adds up to garment (as exemplified in the album’s conclusive segment of gratuitous experimentation). If after reading this review you’re getting a vibe that Diosque is needy, then I have done a terrible job describing him. Diosque’s music is far from needy; it’s confronting, gutsy, and arresting. Not only do I not mind the emotional trespassing, I’d be willing to experience a fender-bender bump with Bote as my conspicuous, cuddling soundtrack.