El Guincho
Alegranza!


3.5
great

Review

by Adam Downer STAFF
August 25th, 2008 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Though El Guincho is often described as "The Spanish Panda Bear," Alegranza! is a completely singular piece of music that sits somewhere between hypnotizing and maddening, while also being a seriously entertaining gem of a record.

Ever found yourself yearning for some excessively repetitive, Latin-tinged hipster music? Well, me neither, but after spending a couple hours with Alegranza!, the latest album from Pablo Diaz-Reixa (aka El Guincho), I’ve discovered that the hunger I never knew existed for such music has been admirably satiated, and I’m passing the good word onto you. I mean, how could anyone resist nine tracks of obnoxiously bright tropical hooks repeated over and over again for five minutes? Impossible, right?

Right?

Okay, so Alegranza! doesn’t work all that great on paper. Conceptually, it treads a fine line where the slightest over-indulgence could doom it for pretentious indie trash. Thankfully, El Guincho has enough savvy to stop Alegranza! somewhere between hypnotizing and maddening, resulting in a seriously entertaining gem of a record.

Take album opener “Palmitos Park” for example. As an introduction to Alegranza!, “Palmitos Park” foreshadows the best to come in the ensuing eight tunes. It meshes a spellbinding groove with enchanting backup harmonies to support Diaz-Reixa’s confidently carefree vocals, all vital elements to the success of Alegranza! The element “Palmitos Park” plays to the most, however, is how undeniably fun this record is. Songs across the board run in celebratory euphoria, some preferring to build mesmerizing whirls of momentum that become nearly impossible to resist (“Kalise,” “Antillas”), others relaxing in sedated contentment (“Buenos matrimonious ahi afuera,” “Polca Mazurca”). Either way, El Guincho brings the ruckus throughout Alegranza!, hosting an ecstatic party that no one really wants to leave.

El Guincho never truly deviates from this party atmosphere, but despite staying one note musically and conceptually, Alegranza! rarely grows tired or predictable. El Guincho brings enough tricks to the table to keep his audience captivated. The unexpectedly sweet introduction to “Fata Morgana” and the wonderfully intricate layering of “Kalise” serve as fine examples of this, but the real demonstration of El Guincho’s showmanship comes at the album’s center. After four tracks of Latin-tinged tropicalia and dub, Diaz-Reixa unleashes the album’s clear standout, “Cuando maravilla fui,” a fierce tour de force that works with El Guincho’s Eastern influences as opposed to his Spanish. It’s a sharp left turn for the album, as Diaz-Reixa delivers his vocals far more passionately than on any song preceding or succeeding “Cuando.” If that wasn’t enough, the album’s most beautiful moment comes on the same track. After three minutes of sharp chants, El Guincho drops the beat out for a shockingly stunning refrain with a vocal sample that hadn’t been prevalent until the song’s very end. As the album’s turning point, “Cuando” gives Alegranza! enough life to sustain its energy through a somewhat wandering second half, and also proves El Guincho’s deft skill in making a record that could have been predictable so much more than expected.

In terms of concept, the most obvious point of comparison for Alegranza! is Person Pitch, and while the albums are lumped together often, Alegranza! stands alone as a singular piece of music. It achieves a remarkably strong blend between being something familiar and being something unlike anything before it. There are several moments on Alegranza! that invoke a “Hey, that sounds kind of like (so and so),” but before the similarity becomes a knockoff, El Guincho takes off in a completely different direction, making the album both heavily influenced and completely unique at the same time. With Alegranza!, El Guincho takes what could have been a disaster and forms one of the most peculiar, inimitable records of the year. Chow down.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Electric City
Staff Reviewer
August 25th 2008


15741 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

nice soundoff

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

taylormemer
August 25th 2008


4917 Comments


Ha! Excellent excellent.
Personally always had a soft spot for parrots so I'll check this out.

btw, currently studying the score for Quartet for the End of Time. See what I can come up with in writing once I'm happy with my understandings.


IsItLuck?
Emeritus
August 25th 2008


4927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Palmitos Park" rules. If I listened to this again, I'd probably rate it a little lower though. like 3.5 status

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
August 25th 2008


15741 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

My personal rating is like a 3.8, but I gave it the bump cuz I'm nice.This Message Edited On 08.25.08

Kage
August 25th 2008


1172 Comments


this sounds like something i don't want to listen to

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
August 25th 2008


15741 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

that sounds about right

plane
Staff Reviewer
August 25th 2008


6094 Comments


so so so boring

sgrevs
August 25th 2008


698 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Love this album, nice review.

brandtweathers
August 25th 2008


2007 Comments


very interesting. not necessarily a clincher for a purchase but another solid review adam

The Jungler
August 26th 2008


4827 Comments


seems boring, and way too much like a worse panda bear.
good review. you should make all of your reviews this length or shorter from now on.

Kiran
Emeritus
August 26th 2008


6001 Comments


A friend recommended this to me although he described them as the spanish animal collective. I'll probably get it eventually.

Serpento
August 26th 2008


2351 Comments


Ever found yourself yearning for some excessively repetitive, Latin-tinged hipster music? Well, me neither
lies

palmitos park sounds pretty good so far.

jontheatheist
August 27th 2008


79 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Uhm, I kinda reviewed this in march where did it go?

SHOOTME
August 27th 2008


2393 Comments


Uhm, It kinda got deleted in the crash.

SpinLightTwo
November 29th 2008


1043 Comments


Palmitos Park does rule

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
November 29th 2008


15741 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

new animal collective song "brothersport" sounds more like this than el guincho does animal collective normally, which is odd, considering El Guincho is supposed to be heavily influenced by AC

SpinLightTwo
November 29th 2008


1043 Comments


Brothersport was good.This Message Edited On 11.29.08

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
December 18th 2008


15741 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

damn this is falling off for me =/

Frankenhole
August 2nd 2010


57 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

This was fun for like 10 minutes and then it got really boring.

Sleaper
May 31st 2013


3393 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

another 5 to my list.
This is so fun.. happy happy spanish tropicana musixzzz

Digging: Thom Yorke - Tomorrow's Modern Boxes



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