El Techo es el Suelo, Quiero Club
by Carlos Reyes
The reimagining of a continent’s melodic mapping (Nueva America) wasn’t something Quiero Club sustained merely by romanticism. The act’s surveying and contribution to a provincial melodic romance wasn’t an effort to localize the region’s new sounds, but rather, to build an infrastructure for intercontinental zeitgeist. And oh, how it paid off. Nueva America is not only one of the strongest pop records in the last ten years, but it’s also amongst the most meaningful. Seriously, these hipsters charted a soundscape and evoked Jorge González to join their party. How exactly do you follow that? There are no exact guidelines, but Quiero Club has pointed to the permutation of genres as they set themselves to create, demolish, and subvert their own trace on their third reference, El Techo es el Suelo.
Quiero Club's aim at grand lighting is as polished as ever, but they’re working on a new canvas. Whereas in Nueva America the band shot for integration (a collectiveness in themes, genres, and structures), El Techo es el Suelo is concerned with order (owning a determinate, often individualized physical space). This is not to say Quiero Club stopped extending its scope or went all Tea Party on us, but the album is assertive at owning its soundscape, and that’s an introspection that allocates to a physical space where literally, the ceiling can be the floor or vice versa. Charmingly confessed very early in the album, “this beat goes to the deepest places of the human soul.” It’s hard not to affiliate Quiero Club with abrasive, pool-of-music narratives, but they’ve tweaked their expedition for an intrinsic search, and that’s a choice that’s nothing short of commendable.
Last year, when the band unveiled their trippy, neon-puking clip for album single “Cuentos,” none of us could’ve imagined this song would serve as Gustavo Mauricio’s (aka “Catsup”) farewell letter. Although present all across the creative process of QC’s third album, the band lost their most prolific member (who now ventures the language of cinema) just as they prepared to promote it. As sentimental as it may seem, the song has acquired meaning and prescience–that mournful beat and the almost-paternal recitation as he claims to be “folding the fabric of death” is truly moving. Catsup’s presence in other album highlights (the air-ripping opener “No hay nadie” and the narcotized “Ciudades”) will make this a difficult album to sell live, but that’s a challenge the four remaining members seem more than prepared to overcome.
The long gestation and soul-searching of El Techo es el Suelo seems to have impacted the band’s disposition at crafting skycraping anthems. While the outstanding title track and potential next single “Cuerpo” provide momentum and even flirt with QC’s repertoire apex, truth is, none of these tracks are as strong as previous sole-released singles “Musica,” “Las Propiedades del Cobre,” and “Que hacer en caso de oir voces.” You can’t punish a band for making their choices, but any of those tracks could have taken the place of of the scrawny paradoxes “Bite a coin, shit some gold” and “Buena amiga, mala influencia” and made for a more accessible experience. But as contested and challenging as it may sound on initial spins, El Techo es el Suelo charms more than it alienates–it’s a generous record, by Mexico’s best pop band that pours pop wisdom to those willing to do an introspection of their own.