ARGENTINA: BACH - Bandalos Chinos
Updated: Jan 20, 2021
Suave beats and smooth rhythms make these Argentinian indie pop rockers stand out from the crowd
The music of BACH, the most recent album by the Argentinian indie pop band Bandalos Chinos has a very cool sound to it. So cool I wonder if I should even be listening to it. It was recorded in the USA, produced by Adán Jodorowsky, an avantgarde musician and actor who is also the son of the legendary and controversial cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, which gives you a sense of their general vibe. If they ever make a television series about exciting, hip, drug-taking Argentinian teens or young adults, this should definitely be on the soundtrack. Listening to a song like El Temblor, I can just imagine it playing in a scene in the climax of an episode where the lead character (let’s call him, I dunno, Tomás) realises that he does actually love the girl he’s had a will-they-won’t-they relationship for the rest of the show (Martina, maybe?), and he goes after her to proclaim his love before she leaves forever to take a job in another country. It’s that kind of music. The song has a real exciting and liberating feel to it, it’s mysterious, it’s enchanting, it’s catchy, it’s simply great pop with a real texture that evokes such scenes.
“The album is intensely listenable and really great fun. Their mix of indie rock and synth pop feels natural and organic, retro and modern all at once...”
Demasiado has a softer, sadder tone, and when listening to it I imagine our main character Tomás walking slowly in the rain after a terrible event where he may feel some responsibility, maybe someone has had an overdose and is ill, or has died. Ácido has an (unsurprisingly) psychedelic feel to it, and as such could be the perfect accompaniment to a scene in a club. None of this takes into account the lyrics of course, I’m just going off the sound and the feel of the piece, which was my initial reaction to the piece. I haven’t had such a visual response to an album in quite a while, and for that it should be applauded. Their music is so well executed that it’s making me imagine scenes for a show that doesn’t exist, because it is so well placed within its own milieu. These guys know the world they inhabit and they produce music that reflects that.
That said, the lyrics are interesting too. It might not be dealing with difficult or controversial themes by any stretch of the imagination, but rather the language they use I found to be rather poetic for alternative indie pop such as this. Vámonos de Viaje is a nicely spaced out tune that belies its lyrical content about a toxic, obsessional love. Below will hopefully explain what I mean:
Quiero que me bajes/al lado salvaje.
No es amor lo que te traje/es una poción, es la condición
De estar en otra parte/una medicina la que me domina
Y siempre quiere más
I want you to bring me down/to the wild side
It’s not love that I bring/it’s a potion, it’s the condition
To be somewhere else/a medicine that dominates me
And always wants more
My clunky translation might take away from some of the fleet-footedness of the original Spanish, but I hope it conveys some of the lyrical flourishes like this that really impressed me when listening to it for this review, and when paying far more attention to the specifics of the album. Look, it’s not exactly Pablo Neruda, but the fact that they put effort into the lyrics, which often have more than meets the eye, definitely impressed me, as a lot of indie pop can be quite basic. Plus, it provides their work with a sense of musical irony, as Vámonos de Viaje in particular has a real pop sensibility to it, which the lyrics do not reflect. Overall, however, despite the fact that some people will not be able to understand the lyrics, the album is intensely listenable and really great fun. Their mix of indie rock and synth pop feels natural and organic, retro and modern all at once, and songs like Vámonos de Viaje, Súper V, Tu Órbita, and El Temblor are definitely worth your time.