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The Speakers

En el Marvelloso Mundo de Ingeson

(Shadoks Music; US: 1 Oct 2013; UK: 1 Oct 2013)

Maybe You Had to Be There

En el Marvelloso Mundo de Ingeson (In the Wonderful World of Ingeson) was the fourth full-length album from Columbian psych-rockers The Speakers, one which now finds a new lease on life courtesy of the always-restless Shadoks Records. Some 45 years after the record’s initial 1968 release, though, the band’s limitations and self-indulgence have become glaring. There are 12 tracks here, only three of them topping three minutes and many hovering in the two-and-a-half-minute range; these already-thin tunes are whittled down even further by extraneous intro and outros: ringing cash registers, passing trains, snippets of classical music, sex moans, birdsong, flushing toilets, children’s vocals and other, less identifiable sounds. Stripped of this extraneous clutter, what’s left are some straightforward pop structures, fly-against-the-windowpane guitar buzzing, and occasionally lively vocals. The bottom end is thin indeed, with anemic basslines jostling against tinny percussion; presumably it’s a result of the era’s production. An otherwise outstanding cut like the bluesy “Historia de un Loto Que Florecio en Otono” is completely—and stupidly—undermined by vocal processing that renders its spoken-word lyrics into a childish, helium-breathing effect. Follow-up track “Ninos” benefits from an abundance of lively harpsichord and a decent vocal performance, while “No Como Antes” is a strightforward folk-rock tune that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Buffalo Springfield album. It’s too little too late, though, and nothing else on the album makes much of an impression. There just isn’t enuogh musical meat on these bones to be satisfying.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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