Carrie: Honey Blue Star
Static Discos/Dearstereofan

Pepito: The New World
Static Discos

Lest anyone think the Mexico-based Static Discos imprint releases high-quality techno only, new albums from Carrie and Pepito make abundantly clear the label's equally adept at issuing fine glitch-pop of the Morr Music variety. Though both discs exude a relaxed, bedroom production feel, their respective sets sound equally confident.

Honey Blue Star is an enticing collection of warm electronic folk-pop from Laura Becerra (aka Carrie) with production by Ruben Tamayo (aka Fax). Citing Hope Sandoval and Cat Power as primary influences, Becerra hails from Guadalajara but sings in English (Spanish appears once only, as the title of the lovely, City Centre Offices-styled instrumental “Complicado”), enhancing the album's potentially broad appeal. Though “The End” might suggest depression, the song's mix of gently clicking beats, honey-soft vocals, and sweet melodies is pure pleasure. Though her voice is generally inviting, there's an overly girlish quality to Carrie's voice that sometimes grates (e.g., “Sounds Like Display”) but beyond that there's precious little to complain about and much to enjoy. The tremolo guitar shadings that appear throughout provide an especially pleasing complement to her singing.

When creating their third Pepito album, electronic music duo Ana Machado and José Márquez apparently had California on their minds (the two recently moved from San Francisco to Madrid, and dedicated The New World record to California, calling it “the place where America ends and tomorrow begins”) and it shows in the sunny vibe that illuminates their infectious material. The disc is filled with jubilant glitch-pop (e.g., “Si se mueve”) spiced by an occasional hit of soul and dub plus a smattering of rambunctious breaks (courtesy of Brian Fraser) thrown in for good measure. The sweet electro-pop of “Por que” features Ana Machado's cotton candy singing (in contrast to the group's first two full-lengths, the new one's evenly split between English and Spanish language vocals) while “The Dogs” showcases a more baroque and experimental side. The material's electronic pop, yes, but a serious message or two surfaces for those wanting more than aural pleasure. The 'manifesto' presented in “Get Out,” for example, (“We are the new world. You are so old. We are your best hope. Get out. Let go.”) may be succinct but the message is clear. The songs beguile without sounding twee, plus the remix at album's end (“Los Otros,” a Spanish language remix of “Get Out” by Superaquello) is as good as anything else leading up to it.

January 2006