by Pierre Lestruhaut
The main story arc surrounding Extraperlo’s new record is that after breakthrough album Desayuno Continental, as the band was put on halt while each member went its own separate way to work on different projects (Borja Rosal as guitar player for El Guincho, and Alba Blasi as half of Granit were quick to spring), it also gave them the opportunity to mature and evolve as musicians individually. Added to the fact they’ve now teamed up with Pablo Díaz-Reixa as producer for their latest record Delirio Específico, it seems to explain why the most ear-catching divergence from their previous release is just how much cleaner the whole thing sounds. By association, words like accessibility and polishedness start to pop out, meaning that the framework for Deliro Específico is inherently poppier, relatable, and communal. The equivalent of evolving from warm art house films into lush technicolor sagas.
Working with highly influential musician-turned-producer-du-jour El Guincho, and releasing the record through new home of the cool label Canada after abandoning previous home of the cool Mushroom Pillow, the changes in entourage feel as though they’re simultaneously trying to safely ride the trendiness train, while also aligning themselves with a certain scene and aesthetic that carries a whole ethos of its own. First single “Ardiente Figura” shines not only as one of the best pop songs to come out of Spain this year, but as a relentless fluttering of post-punk, tropicalia, dub, and afrobeat influences consolidated into a riff that shudders your every bone, a hook that pervades your brain, and a bridge that melts your heart. All of this done with admirable restraint, and an impressive congealing of their influences into convincingly original melodies and arrangements.
But for a band that shows such restraint in their performance, the themes throughout the album appear to be rampant with luxuriousness. One could quickly shelve their lyrics as straight-out pop idioms, yet with repeated listens they seem to offer some vivid imagery that’s possibly related to fiery sexuality (“Ardiente Figura” and “A Nivel Carnal”), and seaside rapture (“Las Corrientes del Golfo” and “Viaje a Brasil”). Borja Rosal has allegedly succeeded at his conscious attempt to sound a lot less like Orange Juice frontman Edwyn Collins, though when his roaring voice gets paired with new-wavey staccato riffage (such as in “Las Corrientes de Golfo”) the Soda Stereo extrapolation CF’s own Gio Guillén mentioned does start to feel a bit inevitable to point at. Alba Blasi’s occasional appearances though, show off a tonal counterpoint that adds considerable breadth to Extraperlo’s palette, a band that here pulls together such elegance and energy from the most disparate of sounds.
Leaving barely any silences between tracks does nothing but reinforce the contrast in cohesiveness between their debut and sophomore records, which points out to the fact that Delirio Específico can be misinterpreted as the effort of a band still working to find their ground and tailoring what’s coming closer to be their dreamed-about sound. But perhaps that’s the whole point of Extraperlo. In an interview for PlayGround, when asked about the possibility of dropping an eventual third record, Borja Rosal stated they would need to find ways to do things differently, in order to keep the creative spirit alive. It’s their own nonconformity that truly defines Extraperlo. And in Delirio Específico, as a band that’s still experimenting with expanding their own palette, they’ve succeeded at admirably looking for new ways to conjure leisure-evoking melodical opulence, afrobeat-inspired guitar licks, and 80’s pad beats into truly stuttering internet-era pop songs.