As you should know, if you’ve been paying attention in the last few weeks, El Guincho (a.k.a. Pablo Díaz-Reixa) hails from Barcelona, where he has been making what he describes as “pop music, people loves pop music. It’s dance music, people loves to dance. And at the same time it is no pop and no dance music at all. It’s a different way of achieving those vibes with sounds you wouldn’t expect to be there, so it makes it a new exciting thing.” And it seems people love it, with Alegranza being bandied about in the same breath as Panda Bear’s stunning ‘Person Pitch’.

One listen to the intoxicating psychedelic rush that is album opener ‘Palmitos Park’ and it is easy to see why El Guincho’s exotic blend of music has pulled so many under it’s spell- full of energy and beautiful harmonies it swirls around the listener, challenging them not to dance. ‘Antillas’ follows in the same vein, bringing a party mood that lifts the spirits, particularly as the nights begin to draw in.

However, the initial bust of energy quickly wears thin. El Guincho’s loops repeat ad nauseum, and new sounds built upon them layer by layer. Where this music, infused as it is with latin spirit, normally invokes freedom, the short loops trap the music, making it feel claustrophobic. The constant repetition can at times be headache inducing, or alternatively sap away from the interest, the repeated out of key chanting on Buenos Matrimonios Ahi Fuera being a case in point, seemingly losing direction and sense of purpose half way through its 6.40 run time. Costa Paraiso, with it’s infectious rhythms at the start begins with promise, but again the formulaic building of layer upon layer quickly grows old. The problem seems to be that this is very much a studio project- yet the music forming of the source is one infused with freedom. By cutting and splicing in the studio the essential freedom and ‘joy’ ( a literal translation of the albums title) is somehow missing. That is not to say the album doesn’t have it’s moments, but to often the concept wears thin, dropping in and out without ever doing much, and devoid of substance to back up it’s early promise.

It seems somehow fitting that the island “Alegranza”, a volcanic landmass at the end of the Canary Islands from which the album takes its name, is uninhabited, but with the potential to erupt.


El Guincho on Myspace