I am always thrilled to hear some great pieces of poetry and I’ve always been drawn towards 1920s art. There is something rather different and exciting about that time period: the awakening of the subconscious in art, playing with new techniques and experimenting with traditional art forms.
Kermit is a band that has its album cover designed by Lorenzo Saval, the director and graphic designer of a Spanish literary magazine that represented all the above in the late ‘20s. How cool is that? Perhaps it is more of an honor if I tell you that this magazine is the main inspiration behind their second album, named after it- ‘Litoral’. Started in 1926 in Málaga, the magazine supported the art movement known as the ‘Generation of 1927’, and is still active today. The second idea behind this conceptual album is in the word Litoral. Its meaning – the coastline – is illustrated in the cover and represents reaching the shore, in a sense of having reached the style and sound that the band was searching for.
RELEASE DATE: 07 April 2014 LABEL: Itaca Records
The album starts with the track ‘1926’, the year the magazine first started. This song introduces us to the concept of literary narrative that we’ll have the chance to hear throughout the entire album. The song itself has a tender taste that builds up nicely and naturally. Songs are mostly connected giving the album a nice flow.
‘Samhain’ is where the psychedelic atmosphere kicks in. Excerpts from Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ are combined with groovy bass and minimalist space sounds. For the first time we can hear a jazz influence. I especially like the harmony of the narrative and how the bass follows the intersections between it. And not to forget the drummer almost playing with cymbals.
What also got my attention is how every song on the album has its own style and gives something new to the table: ‘Circumpolares’ with the interesting guitar solo and a use of megaphone, ‘We Tripantu’ with tribal singing and ‘Ingeborg’ with an Eastern ambience.
‘Magnitizdat’ starts much differently than the other songs. Alongside acoustic drums, rhythm is complemented with electronic drum pads. As the song progresses, the rhythm of the pads varies, making the flow of the song quite unpredictable. This combination, along with the omnipresent bass line, forms a tense flow leading to an avant-garde and psychedelic sax solo.
‘1927’ is the ending of the first stage in Litoral’s life and the last song on the album.The first and every subsequent time I’ve heard it, I wished it lasted forever. It is a brilliant indicator of what the band does so uniquely- combining post rock, psychedelic and jazz in a poetic fusion. I experienced the entire song as a conversation, the intersection of vocals, the dialogue of the guitars, all led by the heartbreaking saxophone.
Almost every little thing with a good story and history behind it can be valuable. When you have that valuable thing wrapped up in a beautiful concept that can brag how much good music it contains, you get a piece of art as great as Litoral.