[Volveremos] a ser amigos, Escuela de Trance
by Carlos Reyes
My closest friends and I meet at least once a week for something we call El Cineclub. It’s exactly what it sounds like: an evening where we allow celluloid to transport us and confront us. We took this to heart when deciding that our very first film to be screened would be Pasolini’s Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom –a bold choice for the purpose we had outlined for ourselves. When the credits started rolling, we took a sip of our drinks and found ourselves discussing its social politics and cinematic agency for the next three hours. Somewhere down in Buenos Aires, another group of friends must’ve met to see the same film, and it must’ve had hit them as hard as it hit us. Their way of responding to it? Crafting a melody to accompany the film for which Pasolini was murdered.
“Vacaciones en Sodoma, 120 días de pura felicidad,” sighs the song as it negotiates the transferring of the film’s topics into the narrative and resources of indie rock. Dissecting the film’s poignancy on sexual awakening (by means of perversion, corruption, and torture) it’s the academic approach to be expected. Escuela de Trance knows it’s best to approach it differently. They opt to celebrate the premise and subscribe to the team of torturers, offering a lyrical score to the rituals the recent pubescent teens will undergo during their stay in the mansion. There’s something almost cruel about where Escuela de Trance chooses to melodically transport the film, but the reasoning of the texts and its stream of happy-go-lucky orchestration sure make it one of the most memorable moments I’ve heard in music this year.
By the way, [Volveremos] a ser amigos (an EP), isn’t a conceptual album about Salò. My review has focused on that particular track because it hits a personal affinity I have with my own friendships. The rest of the EP deals with other ventures about friendship that hopefully other critics will articulate about. Musically, it’s nothing short from exhilarating. Album opener “Todas las fiestas del mañana” starts off the album with the quintessential chord progressions that usually lead a band into anthemic territory. Escuela de Trance could have gotten away with a larger-than-life statement. Instead, they twist their rhythmic excursion to unlikely places –achieving greatness because of their daring choices. Take for example when they decide to push the organ-based playground of “Chicas!” into a rock opera. Talk about a no guts no glory exercise.
This is a band whose sound doesn’t quite fit its musical community (La Ola Que Quería Ser Chau being the closest). Escuela de Trance rather sounds closer to other enfant terrible contemporaries like Joe Crepúsculo, 31 Minutos, Alexico, and even Saúl Hernández (in his golden age) in “Tan mágica, tan especial,” which could totally blow out in Mexican radio the same way “AV Corrientes” and “Lo Hecharon del Bar” have in the last couple of years. Despite only being a couple minutes shorter than its predecessor, [Volveremos] is missing a bit of roundness, and maybe a little more attention in the aesthetic department. And although as a whole it doesn’t one-up the stellar Doktor Van Der Ger Ger Ger Ger Ger, Escuela de Trance, Buenos Aires, Argentina (the full name of the band) shows plenty of musical command and a lot of bravery in the topics and texts they choose to tackle on their near obscene, uncouth quest for harmony.