So you’re a new post-rock band, looking to make a name for yourself in the digital world? As Jeff Probst (“Survivor”) says, “You better bring it!” And that’s exactly what Venezuela’s Tan Frio el Verano does. Strings and horns, drums and electronics, guitars and glockenspiels all come into play, and nothing is held in reserve. By going all-out, the collective endears itself to its live audiences, and should do the same with the home listening crew.
Tan Frio el Verano’s approach to songwriting recalls that of various Scandinavian bands, many of which have chosen to emulate the happier side of Sigur Rós while leaving the introversion behind. (It can be said that Sigur Rós has been headed in that direction itself in recent years.) A fine euphoria graces Primavera, first evident in the Big Brass Chorus of “2208 horas en un segundo”, but present throughout. Tan Frio el Verano is built for stadiums, for summer festivals under the stars, for quilted blankets and twinkling eyes. Primavera isn’t all big moments – interludes and contemplative passages abound – but the big moments make it fly. Even a two-minute track like “Se miraron y fueron historia” takes only a few steps before attempting to clear the runway.
When the tempo slows for “Con las manos lienas de fuego”, the listener knows that the band is going for a more serious slice of the pie. Cricket and glockenspiel are an odd pairing, but they produce an outdoor vibe. When the drums and bass enter at the 2/3 mark, the effect is like that of receiving a long-awaited package. In like fashion, “Yo Recuerdo” grows from a languid buzz to a 65dos-esque combo of guitar blast and electronic crunch. Not content to leave their listeners with only two such tracks, the band invites them to ride the rollercoaster two more times. “Niebla, barco, pajaros …” contains the album’s most effervescent horn line, a 3-3-6 note melody interrupted only at the percussive breakdown. And then suddenly, whoop! Here come the vocal chants, right on schedule, perfectly uplifting and beautiful. Hug your friends, and get ready for another breakdown and a long, lovely descent. The closing track saves its crescendo for the very end – haven’t we had enough sugar by now? – and the listener reaches for the Visine, or perhaps another drink, to toast with a small group of 40,000 pleasantly buzzed companions. This album makes everyone your friend.
Primavera is far from subtle, but it’s infectious and fun, a big album that deserves a big audience. (Richard Allen)