Los Planetas

Encuentros con Entidades

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The opener, "San Juan de la Cruz," fades in like a cross between the Velvet Underground's "Sweet Nothin'" and "Sympathy for the Devil" -- ever make that connection before? Probably not, and in many ways, that's central to los Planetas' musical world, referencing traces of the past but taking them to a different place through the accumulation of melodic details. Encuentros con Entidades sports a lighter, clearer guitar sound and isn't nearly as dense as Unidad de Desplazamiento, a good thing since the group's wall of sound on the latter bordered on being turgid and stagnant. "El Artista Madridsta" is a solid uptempo rocker, driving but not overbearing, with something close to guitar solos but built more on interlocking melodies in the classic mold of these Spanish alternative rockers. The midtempo "Temporalmente" features hard, digging rhythm guitar before resolving in a melodic chorus with majestic organ soars, subliminal keyboard bleeps, melodic bass swoops, and chording guitars that keep building to a climax. "Mis Problemas con la Justicia" fits J's whispered, introspective vocals into a more acoustic arrangement with treated (tape-looped?) melodies, and "Pesadilla en el Parque de Atracciones" is a brief blast back to the band's punk roots with a Ramones-ish attack. "Dulces Sueños" opens in a Velvets "Ocean" vein, a favorite Planetas starting point, with angry bee-swarm strings on top. A thin organ creeps in midway and it turns into one of their epics with the final organ melody (or treated guitar?) and strings (Mellotron?) melding together over a wall of guitars and propulsive drums. "El Espíritu de la Navidad" starts with acoustic strums and J's melancholic voice before choppy drums and keyboard sonic atmospherics take over. "Nosotros Somos los Zingaros" takes a brisk, two-step backbeat, throws in jet-propelled bass scale runs and a sorta mutated Cumbia bridge, and tops it all off with horns and almost discordant strings. Los Planetas aren't really doing anything new on Encuentros con Entidades, but it shows they haven't yet exhausted their trademark musical bag of tricks. Call it a return to form.

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