First things first: we represent, at least ostensibly, a so-called ‘new music blog’ first and foremost. The proof is in the unexpected, if completely welcome nomination for said gong in the inaugural Ticketmaster Blog Awards, any votes for which would of course be hugely appreciated. [wink, wink; nudge, nudge] But why the relatively long-winded intro? Well, because Rebeldes, a second solo full-length recording from Santiago electro-pop maestro Alex Anwandter, is now going on three, and thus can’t really be considered ‘new music’ in even the loosest sense of the term. That said, it’s new to us, and may well be new to you. And if that may be so, prepare yourself to feel pretty thankful.
Its title track, a louche and languid affair, locates glitz in the superficially mundane, telling the tale of a lowly shop worker whiling away the week (“Es difícil, es difícil” Anwandter laments) in order to spend the weekend with a dearly beloved. “Quiero estar contigo para siempre, para siempre/ Dos personas nunca son iguales para siempre” the sentiment, with pulsating synthetic rhythms driving it home. There’s a blithe sense of seductive abandon to it, Anwandter admirably promoting the age-old aphorism, carpe diem.
However, it’s album opener Cómo puedes vivir contigo mismo that most transparently proves Anwandter’s flagrant international crossover appeal. For atop Azari & III synths, rewired via a rather convincing fug of sweaty ’90s euphoria, the Chilean this time informs of an erstwhile “amor” who, allured by bright lights and bigger paychecks, has changed beyond recognition. “No te sientes como estrella en la luz de la presencia ajena?/ Siendo sólo lo que soy es que entiendo lo que es real” he suggests, sagacious, with the poise of a revived Pablo Neruda. That such insightful lyrics should be transposed to a musical score that’s equal parts Scissor Sisters bliss and Sébastien Tellier grandeur makes it all feel that bit more bizarre still, although the attraction to Anwandter goes well beyond a South American exoticism. Irrefutably excellent, irrespective of age.