It’s 10 AM, the 100% humidity is killing me and the sun is shining as it has never shined before. I check my phone for the hour and it seems Mark is late again. Should I venture out in this braise-a-human weather or develop some sense of patience?
Ah, there’s the fella. The door of the Chevrolet Caprice (“The Crapice” as we call it now) creaks open and I jump inside, duffel bag dragging behind me. The car still stinks of that cheap vanilla-scented panda bear Mark’s dad used to hang from the rearview mirror. I guess his memory and the scent will always be with us.
Marks hands me a cold XX lager ámbar and while he is nefariously sipping his, we ramble and talk. It’s what you call “catch up”. God, we haven’t seen each other in 5 years!
“Long time no see, dude. What’s the other side of the world treating you like?”
“So, so, man… You can be one or a thousand miles from where you used to call “home” but there will always be something bothering ya.”
“True, true. You heard about Chabelita?”
“Well, one less from the pool of single people from the old gang. It’s life, Mark.”
“True that. Anyways, how’s the quest going?”
“Not bad at all, I think. I got this beauty the other day…”
I get out a cassette tape out of its plastic prison. The sleeve is quite flowery and the tape itself has a bit of gold lining around it. It’s quite nifty. I put it on.
“That sounds funky, dude. Who are they?”
“Starfucker. It’s been stylised, or bowdlerized, take your pick, as Strfkr but it’s still a good band.”
“It’s got a beat. Bit of Chemical Brothers and MGMT, ¿qué no?”
“I guess it could be a good starting point for comparisons, but they’ve got their own cool style, maybe a closer relative would be Letting up despite great faults. Check the funky bass in ‘While I’m alive’, the first song. Classy and dance-happy, with that bit of Lalo Schrifin and psychedelic lushness.”
“What’s on this beer? It’s making you all inspired and shit. I’m digging this. What else can you tell me?”
“The two tracks we just heard are ‘Sazed’ and ‘Malmo’, they are more easy going, like sauntering through a park on a Sunday morning. It’s relaxing and you haven’t been overwhelmed by families and lil’ kids kicking balls.”
“So, we playing this album on the next beach party?”
“Could work, just remember that the tempo veers a little into a more relaxed territory somewhere along the halfway mark. ‘YAYAYA’ feels a bit ethereal and ‘Fortune’s Fool’ goes more for a strummed guitar approach. ‘Kahlil Gibran’ is more campfire singalong than dance central, know what I mean?”
“Ah, the dancey tempo is left off then, like some sort of LOW affair where the second half is nothing like the first?”
“Not at all, think of those three songs as a quick flex of the creative muscles. Starfucker is just adding a few more shiny shades to their palette. ‘Say to you’ is like a very lovely ballad and the little beat that jumps like a Mexican bouncing bean is just getting you ready for the last part of Miracle Mile, where we once again go for a dancefloor aesthetic.”
“You know? There’s something slightly odd with the sound. Sounds like that Shoegaze stuff you bang on about.”
“There’s a bit of it, again, anothe layer. Think of Strfkr as one of those rainbow-coloured layer cakes.”
“Nice…Miracle Mile. Anything to do with the 80s film?”
“That would be a good interview question.”
“You have anything else from them? Previous releases or something?”
“I’ve got Reptilians, which is quite good, even if it’s not as lush as this. Miracle Mile feels more dreamy and atmospheric, maybe it went for a few victory laps at the Reverb Circuit. So far, I’ve enjoyed the two releases I own by them. Check their Daytrotter session too…”
We stop at my aunt’s for some homemade food. Her cuisine skills are still as good as I remember, but now she’s using more spices, like cardamom and caraway seeds, making her scrumptious dishes even better.
“So, we going to Miramar Beach, then?”
“Sure, let’s just hope there’s no ‘Beach Monster’…”
Words: Sam J. Valdés López.