‘La Mar’ behaves both calm and stormy, but ultimately does a very good post rock album.

From Venezuela hails this very unlikely band called La Mar. Not only are they a rock band (the genre still being followed by a minority of the population throughout all Latin America), but they are a post rock/post metal band, a subgenre even farther away from the mainstream in this area of the world. However, those who are fans of this genre (which tend to be rabid and numerous in other parts of the world) will find in La Mar a very nice band that, if not that inventive, will still play some very great post rock.

The album kicks off with “Anchors”, the title being one of several maritime references in the record, and which suits it well because it is a driving, epic track with lots of dynamic changes. The same can be said for the following track, “There Goes Life”, which is similar to the previous one but a bit more dynamic and memorable. The next track, the aptly-titled “Voyage”, sounds like music that could be used in an expedition sailing for new lands across the sea;  it is one of the standouts, a very enthusiastic cut. The following song is called “I Will”, which has a more driving and nervous atmosphere, coupled with an encouraging (if creepy) vocal sample, and a more guitar-heavy sound overall that is perhaps cut too short. Next is the relatively more relaxed standout “Under The Weather”, which even goes as far as featuring a reggae-like beat and a lazy harmonica (elements innovative in post rock, while far too common in Latin rock); however, midway the track goes off amid guitar/electronic blips and blurs, only to return to its relatively more relaxed dynamics in the end. The following cut, “Releash”, appropriately ups the tempo and the guitars a bit, making it perhaps the most metal track in the album (complete with wailing guitar solos). Next comes another standout, the endearing “Victory!”, whose title aptly describes it: starting with a lovely harmonica, the moving and dynamic track goes on to feature joyous and glorious brasses and xylophone touches along the guitars; however, at three minutes this track is cut far too shortly and abruptly. Following is “Mirage”, a quite moody yet short epic in line with the first two tracks of the album, and perhaps the most memorable one of the three. To close the album off comes “Tides”, a piece which starts quite discordantly and dramatically, droning effects among the guitars giving a sense of danger; this however suddenly subsides into a somber, organ-led section that majestically yet mournfully gives great closure (the band’s voices are even heard, for the first and only time, in lovely wordless vocals).

Overall, La Mar does a very good job at making post rock. While not creating extremely innovative atmospheres or breaking the mold in the genre, they still manage to conceive a formidable sound that doesn’t sound too repetitive or boring (at least by the genre’s standards; this contains no radio hits). I myself had never heard a similar statement from any similar band in Latin rock. One hopes they can only succeed and move forward from here.

La Mar : Official Site   http://www.theregoeslife.com

Stars: ★★★★☆

Review written by Carlos Navia.

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