Within several cynical and elitist bubbles of the internet, folk have recently been dreading 2008's inevitable arrival of a bandwagon crowded with "the solo artist with the sampler", desperately attempting to mimic Panda Bear's breathtakingly original Person Pitch record. Hipsters: you can treat yourself to a rest and some fresh air, because the bandwagon has pulled into town and El Guincho has disembarked, armed with a Boss SP-303 and a love of loops. And he's fucking good!
Whilst it's undoubtedly true that nobody will ever speak of Pablo Díaz-Reixa without mentioning Noah Lennox in the same breath, that's no excuse for resistance. In many ways, his debut album Alegranza is the heads to Person Pitch's tails. Gone are the sounds of trains rattling by and in are the sounds of schoolchildren singing and clapping. It isn't a dark journey through the cavernous chambers of the listener's mind, but rather a trippy picnic in a sun-kissed inlet. It'd be more sensical to consider that El Guincho has inherited Jay Dilla's wondrous trove of samples than to think that he's actively splicing up long-forgotten songs by Cat Stevens and the Zombies. And whilst the vocals are still as indecipherable as Lennox's, this time it's due to a language barrier and not a productional technique, as Díaz bounces through the songs in an exotic Spanish tongue. The lyrics could be a musical adaptation of Stroszek, but ignorance is almost as blissful as tropicalia. Similarly, he might mask his face in hair and ignore the audience when performing live, but it's difficult to imagine him not dancing around the crowd topless, wearing baggy yellow trousers.
Antillas features a tropical flickering guitar riff which sounds like the resulting treasure of a day digging through sand on the beach, bursting to the surface and greeting the summer sky. Sung over this is a vocal melody which is suspiciously - yet forgivably - similar to that of Animal Collective's future classic Brother Sport. Strangely, Kalise sounds even more like the Collective's electro-pop breakdown, either pinching or coincidentally concocting the same tune as both the "open up your, open up your... Maaaaaatt" and "you're halfway to fully grown..." sections of their song, as well as building-up in an unnervingly comparable fashion. But don't worry! Even Martin Luther King plagiarised, and he wasn't half as cool as this dude.
And before you check your pockets during Costa Paraíso; no, that's not your phone vibrating. It's a sample. Nobody loves you, but cheer up! Here are nine songs as gleeful as Hey Ya, delivering everything you'd expect from a record named after an uninhabited volcanic island off the coast of Lanzarote, which was itself named after the Spanish word for 'joy'. Let the summer begin.
Buy Alegranza here or here.