It doesn’t require vocals for music to speak volumes. If you’ve ever seen Máscaras live, you’re familiar with the fierce kinetic language of their instrumentation. Self-proclaimed as “maximalist indigenous rock,” their infectious blend of Cumbia-infused progressive kraut psych is bursting with energy. Through their notoriously impressive live performances, Máscaras earned themselves a No. 3 slot in Willamette Week’s Best New Band 2015 series, without even having any recorded material under their belt to help spread the word. That is until now. Out officially on June 23, Party Damage Records and Resurrection Records are co-releasing Máscara’s highly anticipated debut album Máscara vs. Máscara.
Holding the trio together at the core, the drumming of Papi Fimbres (also of Sun Angle, Orquestra Pacifico Tropical, and nearly 20 other groups) is like none other. Explosive and fast as hell; not focused on finesse so much as building frenetic tidal waves of drum and cymbal mutilation. On guitar, Carlos Segovia (also of OPT) has a style to match, tremolo picking as fast as Papi can roll the snare (see tracks “Burgers & Balrog” and “Crimson & Chrome”), he barely lands on any one note longer than a second while carving out mind boggling lead melodies. Bouncing and wobbling up and down the neck of his Rickenbacker, Theo Craig creates powerful and danceable bass lines that often match Segovia’s guitar.
While it’s hard to pick favorites on Máscara vs. Máscara, there are a few standout tracks. “Desert Masks” and “City in Ruins” are all around mind-warping and explosive, yet inescapably grove-able. “Animal Prince” is perhaps the best reinvention of surf psych to come out of Portland in years. And the triumphant battle tune “Going Home” offers a perfect conclusion to the album with its false ending and the most epic 16 bar chord strike hold-out into a gruesome Mortal Kombat style enemy finishing power sequence.
– Travis Leipzig