Terrícolas Imbéciles, Mexico
by Sam Rodgers
This album, Furland's second LP in five years, seems to have had an overlong gestation period, the band piquing interest with a glitch-like single in 2011's brilliantly promising "Faladó Fala", then almost disappearing altogether, leaving fans' expectations returning back and back to 2009's Historia De La Luz; an album buoyed by its folk-pop sensibilities, drawing hype at the time for being Mexico's answer to the genre. The long wait could be positive or detrimental to Cuervos' success, the band relying on its fan base as it simultaneously and obviously reaches for new, broader audiences - a fan base which may not have followed the same string of inspirations the band has themselves.
It's now December 2014, over a year since the first single from Cuervos - "Corazón Típico" - was released, which, again, seems over-the-top. However, time has proven to serve it well. At first listen, this was not the Furland who inhabited a world with the naive aesthetics and folksy banjo of tracks like "Quiero Ser Un Color", but an almost disappointingly straight-forward rock band. But over the following months of full album mystery, God help us if we couldn't shake the track's hooks out of the old noggin. One thing Furland has never purported to be was a band with loftier goals than pure pop: and, by definition, isn't pop a celebration of the most memorable and most universal of melodies? "Corazón Típico" delivered and then some, three minutes of exuberant, pop-blather feels, at once meaning nothing and everything if the mood was right. Following six months later was "Estar Solo", colouring the image of Furland as a black denim rock band pitching for the stadium rocker, but... not quite. With Sergio Silva's introspective lyrics and spirited timidity, "Estar Solo" becomes a kind of endearing melancholic rock anthem - a cry out to finally let go of someone while acknowledging ones codependency issues. It's like a little emo brother to that song a Disney queen sings on a mountainside.
Speaking of queens, after the one-two punch of the first singles, Furland seemed to mirror Javiera Mena's slow release of Otra Era. Like her "Espada" and "La Joya", "Corazón Típico" and "Estar Solo" were immediate and easy to digest, but it wasn't until "Otra Era" and Furland's "Quiero" that a more textured, nuanced new sound was introduced in the third singles, right before the album propers' release. In "Quiero" we find Furland revelling in that melancholia, layering it with electronic howls by aid of theremin, and restraining the balls out narrative of the aforementioned tracks. It spoke of more interesting sounds to come - of a band ready to play "rock band" on their own terms.
Now we have Cuervos - an album that presents us with a band not so much casting off the sounds of their previous releases, but one moving through and towards other inspirations, while retaining a firm hold on pop dramatics. Opening and title track rehashes Silva's taste for bells, and bridges old and new Furland sounds. "Cuervos" throws everything sonic into the mix, sometimes to the point of overwhelming itself, as does "El Rey del Tiempo", though both provide enough memorable moments. The rest of the album, on the other hand, is clear cut. There are tracks like towering beasts: so complete in the direction of hooks and melodies, you want to turn the volume up high and let them invade the neighbor's yard (see the Tame Impala-esque "Cardinales" and album closer "Fugaz"). Meanwhile, mid-album tracks "Nuestras Sombras" and "Fantasmas" seem half-baked in comparison, and the whistling on the former seems incongruous with the overall sound of the album, at least placed in the middle of it. The most sublime moment on the album comes when Furland take a song not even three minutes long - "Ciencia Perfecta" - and leave the listener wondering if it was hijacked and remixed by Daft Punk; the gear change still surprising on repeat listens.
And this is where Cuervos will be tested: who will listen to this on repeat? Will the vestiges of innocent pop be embraced by new rock fans, will the growling guitar licks be embraced by the folk-pop fans, and what sounds will the band explore next? Let's hope it's not as long in the making.