Jonathan (Gomez) Ramoutar
Marcos is a talented guitarist, and with this album he proves he's also a talented songwriter, able to forgo the non-stop wank-y tapping of his contemporaries to create actually engaging song structures
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Led by the exuberant melodies of cross-tapping guitarist Marcos Mena, the LA duo standards make meticulous instrumental math-rock whose effervescent riffs teem with sunny enthusiasm. On the band's debut full-length, Fruit Island, standards deftly retool math-rock's unforgiving, challenging tendencies into a style that is both danceable and compositionally profound. Drummer Forrest Rice's boisterous chops complement Mena's unpredictable melodies, grounding the unusual self-dueling riffs and balancing the bright compositions with tasteful fills and immaculate syncopations.
Fruit Island's lead single, "Special Berry," blends simplicity and complexity into a charming jaunt of nimble fingertapping and agile between-the-lines drumming. Mena's melodies contort and twist expertly into Rice's bouncing energy, the springy grooves of which are equally attention demanding and rewarding.
Despite being strictly instrumental, the band’s technical and precise stylings are always catchy and singable, inviting listeners to join the band's dancing fruit mascots whose colorful personalities reflect the music's upbeat nature. Fruit Island's second single, "May," perfectly captures the duo's fruity alternate universe, conjuring images of grinning melons and berries bobbing along to pleasantly angular riffs and chop-heavy drums. The guitar glitters like the sand on Fruit Island, somehow both calculated and carefree with its breezy and bright character.
On "Starfish,” the duo find a way to meld percussive energy with delicate resonance, creating an animated and dynamic sonic landscape. standards again strike their signature compositional balance with equal parts intensity and restraint, representing Fruit Island's essence with a constant stream of excitable, succinct passages.
released August 28, 2020
‣ Music written & performed by: Marcos Mena
‣ Drums performed by: Forest Rice (Tracks 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, 11) & Brody Taylor Smith (Tracks 3, 6, 9, 12)
‣ Recorded at Palmquist Studios in Los Angeles by Steven James Aguilar
‣ Brody’s drums recorded at Corey Bautista Audio
‣ Mixed by Steven James Aguilar at Camp Coryell in Seattle
‣ Mastered by Adam Boose at Cauliflower Audio
‣ Album art by Liam Hopkins
‣ Special thanks to Michael Andrade and Topshelf Records
I have a huge soft spot in my heart for emo and math rock, and Gulfter is the perfect blend. This is a considerably more melodic and mathy excursion from Dog Bless, but it still satisfies. There is a summeriness and brightness to this record that is absolutely addicting. JDMP