Monday, February 13, 2012

Capsula In The Land Of Silver Souls

When it comes to South American rock bands, very few (if any) could ever break into the European music scene. But that may change this year. Capsula may hail from Buenos Aires, Argentina, but their musical influences are diversely deep.

From Sixties psychedelic rock with South American influences to American punk, their newest album, In The Land Of Silver Souls, is catching attention in Europe and turning heads in the U.S.

Capsula hails from Argentina, but their sound defiantly carries international appeal.

Capsula takes its name from the Spanish word for “capsule” in honor of David Bowie’s Space Oddity. The band left Argentina for Spain. Regardless of where they play, they sing in English.

"We didn’t know anything about how to tour Europe, but we knew we wanted to be touring wild all year round,” said singer/guitarist Martin Guevara. "We thought that in Europe the distances were smaller compared to South America."

In Argentina, they might have to travel across the Andes Mountains just to get to their next gig. It was extremely frustrating for a band that just wanted to play every night. But, as expected, Europe has opened doors, production facilities included.

What seemed to take years — producing EPs and albums, and booking festival appearances in North America, South America and Europe — now takes months. And although the newest album is technically their eighth studio album, it's light years ahead of the critically acclaimed Rising Mountains (2009) and anything else they have ever done.

As good as Rising Mountains seemed to some, it was formulaic at best. In The Land Of Silver Souls is completely different: 14 tracks of anything but the same old, same old.

The production quality certainly counts. This time around, the album was recorded by Santi Garcia at Ultramarinos Costa Brava at Sant Feliu, and by Guevara at Silver Sounds Studios in Bilbao. Not only does the band wear influences like the Cramps and Sonic Youth on their sleeves, but their brash approach and sonic delivery still give them a sound that is purely their own.

Capsula took a long and winding road, but the journey was worth it. 

It's about time for a band that was originally formed by Guevara and singer/bassist Coni Duchess in 1998. The duo have been slugging it out ever since (and married for better than a decade), and recently added drummer Ignacio “Natxo” Villarejo.

There is a lot of interesting history around the band. Guevara and Duchess lived through some tenuous years in Argentina. They struggled through censorship and dictatorship. But it is also these experiences that likely shaped their approach. It almost seems subtle, even when it's in your face.

It all works because while Guevara sometimes is almost whispered and difficult to decipher, Duchess’ backing vocals are moody and clear, a striking contrast. Add in some crunchy guitars and a barreling rhythm section and it becomes crystal clear that they know what they are doing.

Standouts from the pack include Hit ‘n' Miss, which is a classic garage rock number with a quasi California influence; Wild Fascination featuring Guevara’s Bowie-esque vocals; and Communication which is punctuated by a whispery refrain and Guevara’s low, guttural vocals. When you listen to it all, there is plenty to discover across the right combination of psychedelia, punk, garage rock, and a hint of a pop surf rock

In The Land Of Silver Souls By Capsula Rocks In With An 8.2 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

Without a doubt, In The Land Of Silver Souls marks a turning point for Capsula. There’s not a weak song on the album — it grows on you in the best possible way. And, even more exciting for anyone who likes it, there is a good chance the band will be touring in the United States this year.

In The Land Of Silver Souls by Capsula is on iTunes. The album can also be found on Amazon. You can also download one free track from their band site or follow them on Facebook. Definitely plan to attend any shows in your area.
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