Review Summary: Who would've expected one of the best post-hardcore acts in recent years to be a Spanish-screaming band from Mexico?
I’m not well versed in music outside of the English-speaking world. I don’t count Volbeat or Daft Punk. I’ve listened to a little Maná and Reik, but that’s about it. Maybe one or two Enrique Iglesias songs in Spanish. Not even Rammstein. It all seemed a bit like a gimmick to me, as an American. Sure, I enjoy a couple Maná or Reik songs here or there, but I would never listen to them if the lyrics were in English. There’s a sort of charm and mystique in the foreign tongue that made the music more appealing. But how can I compare them to their English-speaking counterparts? Maná is essentially The Eagles, while Reik is Lifehouse.
Using that example, Joliette closest to early Thursday (Thursday morning, if you will). The guitars scream defiant melodies throughout the better part of the EP. The drums are fast but precise. The clean vocals are eerily similar to Geoff Rickly’s. However, Joliette is different in a couple different areas, which I will go over.
First, it’s impossible to ignore the Spanish lyrics. That doesn’t mean they’re bad, and based on what I’ve been able to understand (I took three years of Spanish in high school and still study here and there), they tend to tell personal, albeit vague stories. For example, “Al caer, voy perdiéndome dentro de tus ojos que arden como el sol/Y al caer, pierdo el color, permanezco estático,” (Solar). The fact that it’s in Spanish seems to have little impact on how everything comes together.
The lead guitar features plenty of rapid, and often dissonant melodies. Between the lead, rhythm, and guitars, they almost sound out of tune. This dissonance works well in creating a new dark atmosphere. With the hectic screaming and unpredictable drumming, Joliette’s music reveals itself as quite chaotic. However, it is clearly planned out. The songs are structured similarly to the songs in Thrice’s Illusion of Safety
: there’s a clear chorus, and you’ll hear it only once or twice. “A. Baldwin” is the most interesting song on the EP, lacking a solid chorus and utilizing a 7/8 groove to build anticipation for the intense end.
The band still has plenty of room for improvement. Specifically, they would benefit by focusing on more calmer and quiet parts in order to mount tension for the heavy musical anarchy that they construct. “Veinte+20menos” becomes the weakest song for this reason. Structurally, the song is great, but it relies too much on the lead guitar tone to highlight everything. In the last song, “Juan Pérez,” the band summarizes the previous four songs in a stunning five-minute epic whose power cannot be understated.
For a debut five-song EP, Convertirse en Agua
is quite strong. The songwriting and production quality are dually impressive. The Spanish lyrics are a point of interest, but not the defining quality of the songs. For a band so young, they show plenty of maturity and promise, and they deserve to be lauded for that.