I’ve said before that I believe that the future of rock is thriving in Spain. I believe that I may have to retract that statement and broaden our scope; because yet again, I’m being proven wrong from the world of music.
Recently I was blessed with the newest addition to the plethora of music pouring in to the US from abroad. Striding out of seemingly nowhere, Puerto Rico’s Portales released Luminosidad (Luminosity) at the beginning of February. While trying to maintain a sound of their own, Rodnnie “Conde” Santiago and Ariel Rivera proudly proclaim that they are from the homeland of Omar Rodríguez-López in both conversation and in style.
Like a beautiful marriage of early The Mars Volta and early, I’m talking the rock years, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Portales combines a lucid experimental ambience with firm rock basics to drive home a sound sure to resonate with fans of all walks. Their eight track Luminosidad flows through its respective songs without losing the listener even for a moment. I wouldn’t call it emulation, but more of a nod to styles that came before them. They are distinctively not The Mars Volta nor Anthony Kiedis and gang.
Recorded at Rochet Productions Studio in Guaynabo Puerto Rico the album remains clean around the edges even when it plays to the abstract. The opening song “Pineal” establishes what is to come very quickly. The opening track grows into itself before coming crashing down to a sustained mellow echoed rock. Sung in Spanish, while playing in a universal language, tracks like “Lunar” and “Mar” express a style through two dynamic visions. The first being an up-front rock and the latter being one of minimalistic experimentation. While only three of the eight tracks come in under four minutes, Portales does well by not venturing into the realm of extensive guitar fades and vast lingering chords at random times.
Beginning with a track over six minutes and capping off with one at almost nine minutes, Portales delivers. It is understood that there are those who don’t like the style and sound of The Mars Volta and to that I will reiterate, Portales is not them. Though obviously influenced by the ground-breaking style, Luminosidad proves its own. If we step back and take a look, let’s just say that for us here in the US, the bar that is the future of rock is being raised by those influenced by us that may call other countries home.