Once upon a time, this strange being called Gooby Zappa left México City for Norway (he was pining for the fjords). He was distracted by the brightly coloured trees of the Yucatán Peninsula and set basecamp there, spending his days peeling coconuts, painting and creating schizophrenic songs full of melancholy and longing.
One day, he accidentally set himself on fire while perfecting a perfectly overdriven solo (‘Dulce Ave’). From his ashes, Nube Fénix was born and this is the first full length that this fiery entity now offers, a self titled kaleidoscope called Nube Fénix.
I think it’s been a bugbear of mine how the lyrical work of a lot of Mexican bands seem to be cycled in two themes: love and spitefulness (which is a byproduct of love outliving its shelf life). Nube Fénix taps more on that mystical side that has garnered the “magical realism” tag in many Latin American creative product. This can be taken either as a backhanded compliment or an actual compliment, all based on how much empathy (or dislike) you have for the term. I’m neutral to the term and I think it does describe 2/3 of what this one man band is blathering about.
Indeed, the themes range from the hollow Earth theory (‘Puente interdimensional’), the easiness of universe travelling in ethereal form (‘Fantasma’) and that never ending, bloodbath of emotions clashing in our heads (the lo-fi gem ‘Arcoiris’). Musical genres are tackled like a mixed candy bag; sweet, sour and sense tingling liquorice unravel, some feeling quite satisfying with a lingering aftertaste (‘Viento Solar’, the 80tastic ‘Media Luna’), some being bittersweet sours that can mess with your senses (the stunning ‘Sombra Azul’), some being a bit strange tasting (‘Lluvia en el sol’)and some frankly leaving wanting for more of the sort (‘Día libre’).
It’s a strange trip, Nube Fénix, but it’s an enjoyable one. Like a trip to the beach, it’s not the time spent in the sand or being thrown around by the waves of the Gulf of México, but the time in the car, travelling towards (and back ) from the coast, with the bright colours surrounding you just breezing by. Did you actually see an orange tree with a naked man busting moves to Minus the Bear? You probably did. And you’ll see him again, when you drive again to that beach, because it’s not the destination, but the wondrous trip you took there.
Words: Sam J. Valdés López