Bengala by Nebula Rosa

on November 12, 2018


Nebula Rosa are a psych-pop band that arose from the complex interplay of Latin American musical influences in their stomping grounds of Miami, though core members George Elizondo and Josh Starkman actually met years later in New Orleans. Their first album, Bengala, off New Orleans’ Bubble Bath Records, is a pretty light-hearted affair, but shows promise, even flashes of brilliance in its eclecticism.

Elizondo and Starkman sing in both Spanish and English. And many of the English songs, like “Don’t Say,” sound kind of stilted and are perhaps a bit much in their throwback vibe, almost like these native English speakers are singing the lyrics phonetically (like the international pop singers of old often did). Where they really excel are on ballads like “Cada Dia Mas.” Nebula Rosa, with their multicultural dossier of influences from Cuba, Brazil, and the US, really wear the relaxed, yet gently longing vibe of bossa nova well. On the Spanish songs, they mine pop nostalgia well without abusing it; the lo-fi, sparse “El Paisaje” is like a window into the past, dusk descending over a seaside city. And on tracks like the fuzzed-out “Feroz” and “Siglos de Luz,” they even show the fire of their punk days.

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