HAVALINA: Islas De Cemento (Origami Records 2015)

Many of the people who have seen that I was publishing this review put their hands above their head. Many of you have thought what has Havalina to do with laletracapital or with its regular readers: those who like to listen to gothic rock, neofolk, dark ambient, deathrock, postpunk or any other label you would like to set to the music you like to listen to. Many people have thought that we (I) have gone crazy or that we (I) have changed or that we (I) have pervert all what this ancient webpage means. You can stop reading this, you can stop entering the website when you want to. No one has ever forced you to.

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But I want to ask you first, just before leaving behing this letters forever; before, a moment before closing the browser and stop reading this site (maybe forever); before choosing the words to curse us (me), listen to Islas de Cemento. Look at the magnificent jacket by Elba Fernández, pay attention to the lyrics (six of the eleven songs are adapted from the “Manual Para Conductores Borrachos” by JJ Cabezalí) or (and) take the trouble to listen to Un Reloj De Pulsera Con La Esfera Rota in Youtube (for example): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyiPZmaNvQY. After doing this you can decide if you’ll keep reading or if you give up on us (me, again). At least it will be a reasoned decision.

And that is that Mr. Cabezalí and his trip mates (Jaime Olmedo’s bass and Javier Couceiro’s drumsticks) did it again. They have perpetrated a small musical masterpiece. They have collected some hard-to-label, complex songs, full of shades, songs for anyone who is able to appreciate what those nine lyrics mean. Dark when they have to be. Clear when the chance is worth it. Complex as I said before, almost baroque, full of insulting creativity. Eleven songs that are quite different but altogether sound like just one: as twisted, dark, decadent and extremely beautiful as you can imagine.

11010618_10152781850257149_5166876009803076628_nCristales Rotos Sobre El Asfalto Mojado is one of those songs that immediately sound like a classic in Havalina’s discography. The keyboard, the “uncared” and dragged voice, their trade mark, the powerful rhythm in crescendo… Almost seven minutes of the best resonant dullness. Islas De Cemento, the song that lends its name to the CD, is the fastest one. And it’s darker too in its on way, a different one from the last one. The lyrics are driven by the distort guitars, it recalls a lot of common places. Nothing is the same, everything is different every time. Un Reloj De Pulsera Con La Esfera Rota is the advance single and works like such. Sometimes furious Postpunk, great for the lives, I think. While I get rid of this body I only wish to amaze you with this somersault, this is what lyrics say. In the next song, his voice begins a lot more relaxed, supported by distortions and reverberations, and then remind us the best The Cure, not the colder ones but the most autumnal ones. A line that continues in the short song Ya Va Siendo Hora. Thoughtful and melodious, quiet and melancholic. Then El Olmo Centenario begins almost unintentionally, the place where the memories are saved, with all those “life” metaphors that it can bring us. Faster, with more guitars but the same tone as the last ones.

Un Olmo works as a bridge among both halves of the album, which until this moment has been growing slowly but now it stops to do its best. Luces is even more centered on the guitar, one of those songs that you are willing to listen live, a quick look but not less gloomy because of this. I don’t know if it is Manuel Cabezalí’s way to sing or what, but the main feeling is similar regardless of speed. Like that lights that pierce our bodies. It is fast too, like that brief riff out of control, two minutes and a half (almost) of barely retained rage. A rage that triggers entirely in the fantastic Cementerio de Coches. Much stronger than the combo uses to be, some classify it as doom, but I think that’s a bit exaggerated. It has a thug blues atmosphere, the perfect soundtrack for the title’s cemetery. Seven minutes that continue somehow with the eight and a half of Lluvia en el Cementerio De Coches, where it seems that the last song’s storm has passed (at least the loud one) but in the development it strikes again, less urgent but not deadbeat. Not at all. We’re left with only one song. I don’t know if it is inspired in the Vala by El Simarillion, it works as an unguent for the wounds inflicted by the last four songs; Ulmo is the perfect balm for the soul, the perfect ending for Islas De Cemento, which has became an essential with only few listenings.

Listen to the album you fools, savor it and let it grow inside you. After, and only after this, talk to us (me) about darkness. Gothic Rock and Postpunk. And about goldfish if you want to.