Review Summary: Catchy, guitar driven Chilean rock with pop sensibilities
Francisca Valenzuela's 2007 debut LP Muérdete La Lengua brings to light a singer who's confident in her own skin and let's her accessible, alternative Spanish rock take center stage. The daughter of Chilean parents but born and raised in San Francisco, CA this multi-instrumentalist moved to Chile when she was twelve and with the release of her first album, became quite the figure in the Chilean rock movement. Muérdete La Lengua combines sulky, moody ballads with catchy, singable numbers in a record that is packed with promise and potential. The ten tracks are a mix of rock, pop, folk and a bit of jazz to go along with Valenzuela's sometimes melodramatic, angst-filled lyrics. Songs like, "Excavador de Tumbas" and "Segunda Vuelta" demonstrate her approachable yet spirited rock tendencies. The compositions are both reminiscent and eerily nostalgic of 90's alternative rock with the tracks use of guitar driven melodies, however, Valenzuela off-sets the more aggressive guitar tones with piano lines that syncopate the beats. Her vocals on these two numbers are strong and self-assured and display a singer comfortable in her style. Although, she doesn't have the world's most talented voice, she knows what she does well and sticks to her comfort zone.
A track like, "Afortunada" sees Francisca delving into her more sullen side. The ballad showcases her talents in classical piano as the song allows her skill to shine. The two singles, "Peces" and "Dulce" perfectly combine cheerful pop melodies with more assertive guitar propelled rock arrangements. Both of which were among the top 100 songs of the year as declared by Rolling Stone (Chile). Along with her piano playing, another of the highlights on the album is on the songs where she lets her voice loiter over the music, hovering unsuspended and at times, it appears to be channeling or at the very least influenced by, as many critics have pointed out, Fiona Apple. Yes, the tag of a Spanish Fiona Apple have been affixed to her since the beginning and although they are warranted, Valenzuela offers much more than a Spanish carbon copy of Apple. Altogether, her debut LP is a wonderful trip down memory lane to 90's influenced rock with a Spanish twist. Francisca Valenzuela was crowned the "Princess of Chilean Rock" by the media with this release and it's easy to see why. As mentioned before the record is brimming with promise and potential, most of which is materialized on this better than average debut.