After the drums kick in at the beginning of the album Explota El Cuerpo (Blow Up the Body) by the Madrid-based band Margarita, the guitar melody shoots out quickly over a dark night sky with prismatic colors streaming down to Earth from its tail. Stray notes twinkle here and there, passing through stars’ phosphorescence as the shooting song splits into alternate dimensions of inverted colors where Eskimos build sand igloos volcano-side. All the way through to the last track, every single tune is laced with whooping non-verbal melodies that crescendo and dive into quick, pleasantly chaotic succession.
At times it can sound like someone stripped the vocals from Sung Tongs, translated them into Spanish, and layered them over The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place after boosting the tempo. THE BOMBER JACKET spoke with vocalist and guitarist Hugo Sierra and he says, “we weren’t trying to sound like Animal Collective, which is a very cool band, but we tried to go further with our vocal harmonies in our own way. We started with ideas from Parque Mágico (their first record) and went deeper into the melodies to find an outer-space feeling.” The two albums are distinct, because Parque Mágico is a lot heavier in comparison to the playful Explota El Cuerpo. In response to the latter Explosions in the Sky reference, the band shot back, “No way! Are you kidding? We don’t like that band at all.” They prefer psychedelic bands from the ‘60s, saying, “We wanted to have a sparkle going on all the time, full of colors and with spaces for listeners to fill themselves.”
Watch the video for “Explota El Cuerpo” below. Directed by Juanjo Juan Holke.[vimeo http://vimeo.com/21269986]
The band’s name doesn’t come from the frozen Mexican drink, which the band says they aren’t really fans of. Instead, it’s the name of the main character in a novel called The Master and Margarita. Sierra says that when the group had its first show, they didn’t have a name and needed one to write on a poster. He was reading the book at the time and just scribbled it down. He says, “I told the rest of the band and then tried to calm them down saying that it would be changed for the next show. It never happened.”
After hearing Explota El Cuerpo, their close friend Pablo Santoro (from Prisma en Llamas) wrote a slew of messy nonsense (that makes perfect sense) that the group says are the exact words to describe their music. Things such as, “Margarita was a multicolored four-headed weasel. Always colorful, always cuddly.” It opens with, “I close my eyes and I hear a band of Eskimos in the tropics, singing calypso around an effigy of the God-Ballena… Under the ice, under the volcano, the sea is boiling. A map of ocean currents…bubbling sand on the atoll, the unexpected collision of cold and hot. This is how the bodies explode.” Sierra says they really would like to be Eskimos, but “in Spain it’s so difficult to find that kind of outfit. However, we do have our own hunting spears.” The write-up ended up as their bio, found on their record label’s website. The group is on the Barcelona based Bcore, alongside some other Bomber friends like Aries and Fanny Roz.
Some of the other intriguing references from their bio are things like, “Dust and darkness, explosions and divergences, bands of his father and mother, after the brief interlude of an imagined community, left this plane of existence, followed in his crooked paths or switched to high finance,” and, “The punk was falling down the stairs.” Sierra says, “We’re going through a very hard historical moment in Spain.” From his responses, it seems like the national crisis is reflected well in the microcosm of the music world. “Punk, music, and Spain are words that don’t work well together,” he says. “For many years the media and the government worked hard to tranquilize the people so that they could manage them comfortably. But now people are waking up, it may seem too late, but we’re still in time to change things.” Just like a lot of things with the national crisis, live and underground music is taking a beating. “It is almost dead right now in Madrid. There’s not a big scene,” Sierra says. “There are a lot of people doing things, but I don’t feel like a part of it.” As Santoro’s bio continues, “Margarita was not even the capital, but came from the dark roads that border the urban monster.”
Sierra says the future seems exciting, for now. They’re working on another album and have a couple of songs that sound different than any of their previous material. Considering how unique from each other their first two albums sound, Margarita could turn out to be a very diverse group of Eskimos.