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De Facto by Lorelle Meets The Obsolete

January 11, 2019
Adam Millard

Mexican duo Lorelle Meets The Obsolete (Lorena Quintanilla and Alberto González respectively) released their last album Balance at the end of 2016 and it seemed to be a conscious departure from their previous, rawer sound. With their fifth album De Facto they seem to have continued that shift towards a cleaner, synth led sound (albeit with generous doses of dirty guitar and general noisiness), but here we see them experimenting with more unusual song structures as well.

The album opens with "Ana" and one repetitive note of pulsing electro, which eventually incorporates some creeping interference and Bad Seeds-esque guitar lines. As an opening statement it's bold and ominously dark, with Lorelle's otherworldly vocal contributions only adding to the general unease. It's a pretty astonishing vocal performance, and is certainly something which we haven't really heard before from this band, moving more into the realms of Haley Fohr and Circuit des Yeux (whilst keeping their own hardened edge). The duo get back to more familiar/commercial territory on the very next track "Lineas En Hojas" which sounds more like mid-80s New Order or more contemporary artists like Gwenno and Charlotte Gainsbourg. By the time track three rolls around you get the feeling that this album isn't going to be sticking to any preset or game plan. Side A is completed by the magnificent "Unificado" a pared back, elongated, druggy freak-out which is well worth its nine minute run-time. 

On "Lux, Lumina" the band experiment with a clean, almost funky rhythm section, reminiscent of early-70's session musician back-lines (i'm thinking the Histoire de Melody Nelson recordings). The duo intersperse this with contrasting blasts of swirling noise and sci-fi synth, elements which would be more commonly associated with the Psych genre of which Lorelle Meets The Obsolete have been previously labelled. This is neatly followed up with "Resistir" which is a textbook example of "crunching". A relentless rhythmic back-line, overloaded with some space-rock guitar and finished off with a drone which segues into "El Durrumbe" and carries right through to the epic closing track "La Maga". The band thereby proving that you can make a disparate, experimental, seemingly unconnected bunch of songs but still weave them into a coherent LP. This one just happens to be the best of their career.