There’s music that one simply listens to, an accompaniment that is pleasing, and music that is not just received in the ear but which fills the heart and soul.
El Duende most certainly belongs in the latter category, crafting songs of a timeless pop sweetness and depth of complex emotions that seems to reside on the corner of a first crush and looking back at that feeling from years further on. There seems to be a pulse, a heartbeat, to these songs- they never seem to remain still, as is the case with the senses within the listener.
The instrumentation is as vibrant as the songwriting, with a layered bed of strings, horns and guitar strums creating an atmosphere that is at once rich and sparse, every element sparkling with clarity. In a sense, it recalls parts of such classic albums as 16 Lovers Lane by The Go Betweens- the sort of pop music where an intelligence and love of perfect pop entwine to form something truly special.
The lyrics are crucial as well, with a tug of war between longing and release, the promise of hope fulfilled and the dealing of those which are unfulfilled. In fact, there seems to be a constant undercurrent of the presence of darkness that makes the buoyant sweetness of the gorgeous melodies all the more resonant. It's the sort of innocence that comes as a result of transcending trials and it's the sort of album one holds very closely to the heart.Andy Waltzer