If someone asked me what result we would get by putting in a blender a large dose of 70s psychedelic rock and a couple of abundant cups of dream pop, I would probably reply with something close to the new album from the Mexican duo Lorelle Meets The Obsolete. Lorena Quintanilla and Alberto González, the two masterminds behind this particular music project, have just published one of those records that really defys classifications. The band’s new album, called De Facto, contains a wide spectrum of styles that gravitate between the most extreme psychedelic experimentations and moments of pure ambient poetry.
De Facto is the fifth album released by Quintanilla and González, and it’s apparently the one where the two artists have left more freedom to their musical inspirations, exploiting a palette of sounds and atmospheres that range among apparently distant points of the musical universe. The result is absolutely brilliant, especially because the songs of the album are amazing and impressive not only for their originality, but really because of the emotional intensity they bring to the listener.
In order to fully appreciate the music of De Facto, however, the listener really needs to get rid of any preconception and absorb the songs that arrive one after the other as they come, without trying to find familiar patterns or frameworks. Without this openness of spirit you would not be able to transition from a first track like Ana, distressing and almost trascendental with its slow and ineluctable pulsating rhythm, to a second track like Lineas en Hojas, which starts as a K-pop dreamy hit, and then evolves. The experience may be a little unsettling, there is no doubt about it, but the absolute value of music keeps everything tight and compact, with a constant sense of emotional suspension that manages to hold together moments that, at first sightm, could seem so loudly distant one each other.
Sonically speaking the album is truly amazing. De Facto was recorded in Ensenada, Baja California, in a home-made recording studio that the duo built with their roommate and touring synth player, José Orozco, after finishing the tour for their 2017’s LP Balance. To some extent, it’s surprising to realize that the music composed in a relatively amateurish recording studio has managed to become so universal, something capable to cross the boundaries of all the genres that we have heard to date.
If I should try to give some coordinates for describing the music of the LP, I would say that the songs of De Facto have a central core of psychedelic rock based on synthesizers and guitars, which are also the main instruments played by Quintanilla and González. The combination of dreamy vocals over psychedelic rock is one of the conducting threads that hold together the various pieces of the LP. In some tracks, such as the long song Unificado, it’s really the central component of the song, but in many other tracks it’s just one of the various contributors to the overal atmosphere. From this psychedelic baseline, the various songs of the disc depart freely through different and often amazing paths. A group of skilled musicians contributed to the composition of the LP, including the aforementioned Orozco on synths and organ, drummer Andrea Davi and bassist Fernando Nuti. Lorena Quintanilla has stated on several occasions that the songs of De Facto were conceived and originated with a “band approach” rather than starting from individual ideas. This is presumably another reason why we enjoy in the final product such a variety of tones and styles.
I started my review talking about a shake of 70s rock and dream pop. Other critics have compared this music to what happens when musical experimentation passes through a heavy psych filter. Both these descriptions are quite evocative but, in the end, they don’t fully render the complexity, the brilliance and also the freshness of this music. What’s certain and indisputable is that De Facto is an outstanding record. I give it a rating of 8/10.
My favorite songs are the opening track Ana, the psychedelic hymn Unificado, the closing song La Maga, but also the intriguing Lineas en Hojas with its hypnotic bass loop.
Lorelle And The Obsolete are now featured in YELLOW EYES, the playlist with the best of contemporary progressive rock.