User 69, Selma Oxor
Vale Vergas Discos, México
by Enrique Coyotzi
In my review for Bam Bam’s 2011 masterpiece Futura Vía, I mentioned how Luxor’s vocal collaboration wasn’t that essential. Nevertheless, the truth is we’ve missed her. A lot. She’s made a proper comeback under the charge of Selma Oxor, the band she once shared along with Alexico and Ratas del Vaticano’s Violeta Hinojosa. We’ve lauded Selma Oxor’s return as one of this year’s best and, as evidenced in her fiery EP provocatively titled User 69, we weren’t wrong predicting it as something exhilarating.
Getting rid of the loud guitar noise abundant in the self-titled debut, spanning a poppier sound while preserving an electroclash basis, User 69 finds riot grrrl, scenic artist Leticia Beeton owning the moniker, revamping it into something deviantly appealing, her own. Comparisons to María Daniela may seem obvious, but honestly, quite tired. While their voice timbre might be alike, Beeton’s work isn’t candy floss electropop. This is filthy, dark, strenuous synth punk that persuades you to get carnal in each pumping, lecherous beat enveloping it.
Aided by Dr. Dude’s (Humanoid Mutations) galvanizing production, Luxor, making use of obscure, sinister aesthetics (think Dani Shivers), maniacally stimulates the listener in each of these five ebullient tracks. First single “Dotes de Cocina” showcases what Selma Oxor’s new direction is all about: luscious, soothing vocals that at times sound frenetic, combined with propulsive rhythms and stained yet jaunty guitar work both rousing and degenerate. Resembling a vivacious Mount Kimbie track, bass-heavy “En tu T.V.” speaks about the comfort found in television addiction under scary declarations (“La vida real está en la pantalla chica”). The robotic voices heard in “Aerobic Nation” bring to mind Ellen Allien’s Berlinette, confirming Beeton’s listening habits have changed, while the surf rock guitar riff in “Jungle Juice,” guiding Luxor’s suggestive articulation (“O-o-o-o-o-o-oxor/Jui-jui-jui-jui-juice”), comes as the sexiest moment in the EP. Closer “Quiero Salir” still sounds a bit like Portishead’s “Machine Gun,” although it retains a phantasmagoric aura and nefarious outlook.
A fierce and rampant EP, the only thing missing here is the inclusion of outstanding hit “Lo Que Quiero.” It was a bit disappointing to learn Luxor opted to leave it out. Nonetheless, User 69 satiates after a long wait since last hearing from Selma Oxor, exposing a radical change in her music that resulted from going solo, taking a perceptible step into maturity, and encountering complacency and freedom of ideas by making her own fertile art.