Posted by: Ryan Allen on July 2, 2008 at 9:00 am

Allá, Es Tiempo (Crammed Discs, 2008)

MP3: “Una Dia Otra Noche”

If you’re anything like us, you got kicked out of Spanish class in high school on a pretty regular basis. No offense to the Spanish language or anything — it’s one of the most gorgeous in all the world — but there was something about having to sit through a week’s worth of “Don Quixote” cartoons that made us a little antsy and reactionary. Our fault, not Spain’s. Thankfully, in our music listening experience, our inability to understand Espagnol hasn’t really come into play; it’s not like we’re over here rocking Menudo on a regular basis. But all that changed once Es Tiempo — the debut by Chicago trio Allá — graced our ears. As it stands, we can’t understand a word vocalist Angel Ledezma is singing; yep, the whole thing is in Spanish (el doh!). But, hey…it sure sounds pretty. And coupled with Allá’s space-age bachelor pad grooves, jazzy undertones, occasional hip-hop flourishes, and heavy Tropicália influence, there’s enough to latch on to that makes the language barrier become less of an issue, and more of a welcome adornment to an exotic listening experience. With it’s sweeping strings and airy drumming, “Una Dia Otra Noche” announces the album’s breezy theme; one that is carried throughout, and best exemplified on the night-time funk track “Un Pedazo,” the Spanish-guitar laced “Sigue Tu Corazon,” and lounge-y album closer “Golpes Del Sol.” And yes, there will be moments that will remind you of Air, Stereolab, Os Mutantes, the Sea and Cake, and other like-minded contemporaries. But what you won’t hear are screaming guitars or any kind of 80s-revivalism; two things we’re getting pretty sick of these days. Instead, Es Tiempo is chock full of true summertime jams; the kind you want to listen to whilst nursing a cold Corona, hanging out with your friends in the backyard, cooking delicious meats and veggies over a hot grill. Yeah, maybe it sounds a little “bro-ish,” but indie rockers have to eat, too. And Es Tiempo is the perfect appetizer: light, airy, and leaving you hungry for more. And we don’t need a translator to understand that. — Ryan Allen

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