Fiesta en la Vitrola, Las Acevedo
Independent, Dominican Republic
by Monika Fabian
Even with 2014 within sights, I keep returning to June’s Fiesta en la Vitrola EP by Las Acevedo. It’s the Dominican twin sisters and bandmates’ most mature release yet and easily one of my favorite EPs of the year. Anabel and Cristabel Acevedo seem to be doing whatever they want in Santiago, however they want—handling everything from composition to mastering—and having a blast with all of it. As aural enjoyment, their combination of sweet, two-part harmonies and sunny folk-pop on Fiesta en la Vitrola is absolutely inviting and rewarding.
“Una Sola Canción” is a gem made from cascading lyrics, gentle percussion, and layered guitar and ukelele strums. But beneath that cheery warmth, for the first time, there’s an almost literary sense of metaphor and nuance to Las Acevedo’s music. “Estas flores no son para ti,” they sing in the chorus of “Flores,” the EP opener about a man who wrongly thinks he’s the object of the singer’s affection. Assuming the song’s protagonist is female, a more feminist reading suggests she’s rejecting the male gaze and her implicit interest/role in it.
“Casa,” a gentle bachata ode to tranquil music-making at home feels wonderfully feminine in this male-dominated musical genre—even subversively so. The guitar at the heart of this ditty (and bachata itself) is female, since “guitarra” in Spanish is feminine. The gorgeous bachata is also Quisqueyan pop at its finest. “Casa” is at home in pop culture and cultura popular much in the same way as Rita Indiana’s “Da Pa Lo Do” and Juan Luis Guerra’s “Ojala Que Llueva Café.” And then the party’s over after the flirty “Tú Sí Me Quieres.” The longest song on the four-track Fiesta en la Vitrola EP clocks in at just under three minutes. I’m torn about the brevity of Las Acevedo’s latest. I want to hear more, which is a good thing, but then again, there’s genius to subtlety and simplicity. Las Acevedo might just be teaching us that.