Published on June 15th, 2017 | by John J Nicol0
The Myrrors | Hasta La Victoria
The Myrrors previous album Entranced Earth was rightly featured in Brown Noise Unit’s “Best of 2016” list last December. So the announcement of its follow-up Hasta La Victoria less than six months later came as surprise, simply because Entranced Earth, to me anyway, seemed to have more yet to unravel.
I still maintain that Entranced Earth was more a weird ceremony than an album. Playing out in a 40-minute event, the sudden cut-off at the end of the final track Surem Dervish felt like the only moment of studio intervention.
The opener of this new record Organ Mantra, with its slow, almost two-minute fade-in, is like watching the sunrise…
The Myrrors have long been masters of these shuffling, groovy, intoxicating tracks. Imagine the Träd, Gräs och Stenar/Pärson Sound/International Harvester axis with dustings of Terry Riley fractals, distant voices, and a patina of fuzzy grime.
They make a form of psychedelic rock music that unfolds organically, and their music seems suited to the less frenetic format of the good old LP.
So the opener of this new record Organ Mantra, with its slow, almost two-minute fade-in, is like watching the sunrise. A group locked into a hypnotic pattern. The track feels like a standing wave for remainder of its 10.01 duration, tickling your brain further.
Many have mentioned the notion of the desert, perhaps as a response to the band’s Tucson, Arizona upbringing. Clearly, we’re talking vast 100-mile horizons, dust, and dunes as Somos La Resistencia comes thundering into view, but it’s North African sand that’s blowing in the wind this time around.
And The Myrrors seem to have wrapped something political into the Spanish of both the album Hasta La Victoria (To Victory) and the above-mentioned Somos La Resistencia (We Are The Resistance). It’s also clear that Hasta La Victoria goes very near to Che Guvaras famous “Hasta la victoria siempre” quotation. Even the lettering of the album sleeve morphs into the immediacy of a hand-written slogan.
While the message is subtle—The Myrrors don’t do protest songs in the traditional sense—it’s easy to imagine being a switched-on American and being aghast at the current political situation. Is there a snarl buried in here?
What’s in no doubt is this band continues to employ amazing restraint. Nothing ever feels layered or contrived in any way. El Aleph contains echoes of Zeit by Tangerine Dream minus the electronics, presented as a simple acoustic passage of time prior the monumental final title track.
This album feels like a glimpse into the band’s futureworld, delivered in another slowly burning and delightful installment.
The album is effectively bookend by the two monolithic aural statements. If Terry Riley informed the keyboard flavour on Organ Mantra, it’s like some re-contextualisation of Soft Machine’s Mike Ratledge on Hasta La Victoria. Skeletal percussion and processed voices tug and looping keyboards figure as it intensifies. The track slowly swells, and like the first track, creates a considered plateau of sound. The mix grows busier, but the same hypnotic elements continue to mesh beautifully.
Hasta La Victoria packs a lot of unusual twisting into a surprisingly concise 37 minutes. Perhaps in some ways this album sees the band trying to add new colours to the sound, and as such, it’s a band challenging themselves. The overall arc of this new album is a bit different, it feels more varied, which means each track exists more in its own microcosm.
For me, though, it’s beyond doubt that the first and final tracks are another 25 minutes to add to their growing pile of amazingness. The shorter tracks that intervene disorientate and suggest new directions. This album begins and ends so well that the middle section can’t help but feel ever-so-slightly less vital.
While this album came as a surprise, I’m delighted to report that The Myrrors continue their heady journey. This album feels like a glimpse into the band’s futureworld, delivered in another slowly burning and delightful installment.
Hasta La Victoria releases June 30 on New York’s Beyond Beyond is Beyond in limited edition vinyl, Digipak CD, and digital download. Pre-order here.
Story: John Nicol. Featured image: Joanne Cuellar.