When you listen to this outing by Carlos Alonso, the first feeling I got was it was an invitation to his 49th Birthday. After my first run through I understood the significance of 49. It is the birthday before you are at the half century mark, so what do you do at this stage. Do you kick and scream or do you walk in gracefully. This recording explores the complexity of that attitude. Each song is like a chapter that needs to be both felt and explored from a 360 degree view. The good news is the quality of Carlos’ sound is just that. It completely envelopes you with multiple layers of sounds and moods from your past, present, and tries you reveal your future, but that is your personal journey on this album.
The opening begins with you entering a sleazy Mambo nightclub with past experiences and a sense of those familiar musky smells that have permeated your existence for decades. It kind of feels like a chapter from the graphic novel, “Sin City”. It slips into a hypnotic charm that pulls you deeper into the lifestyle you have sustained for decades. I love Carlos’ slight use of horns on these tracks. It brings me back to the days when he was in the band, Glueleg.
“You were Riech all along” explores the marathon experience of your hazy life and how personal addictions keep you locked up in your revolving past. It is bleary and weary as you try to gain control of clarity, but that house sound keeps pulling you back for another round.
You re-enter the decadence of sexual fantasy that feels like the “Close encounters of the ecstasy kind”. The street beats continue into plastic mambos that instill a promise of self-importance and renewed belief in what you have become over the years. Again, great use of horns helps hold the entire sound together.
“Regarding Maurice”, is quite the Funky Monkey with great bass lines and hints of Frank Zappa trying out some jazzercise. This is like a cool mental blended smoothie.
After moments of great fun, a dirge makes their way in and with hollow beats drags you around and around with little regard for your well being. It leaves you in a spiritual coal chamber. Chances are, this is the moment you may want control back in your life, while being out of control. Well, “Chances are”, is the song that delivers just that. It reopens you to new possibilities and helps you start over.
“I’d rather fall into you”, is dreamy, innocent, glittery and spacey. It is a return to innocence where your steadfast moral compass is revisited and, it a good place to hit the start button again. Wonderment is bright again and willingness is freshly unbridled. The journey continues with a warm psychotropic walk along a personal El Camino as luxuriant sounds guide you with encouragement. Voices chime in and continue the pilgrimage to a new cultivation of spirit, in the song,”Re:Art”.
The ending finishes off as if a bountiful feast has renewed you and the peace of being still and grateful looms on your new maturity. It is a sunset you have not witnessed in a very long time. This may be the journey you take as a 49 year old person. It may just be about coming to terms with the title of Half Century.
You can take that journey when you visit Carlos’ page here.
On a side note, when I spoke to Carlos about doing this review, I may have heard somewhere in the background that Glueleg are getting together in a studio outside of Toronto to see if they can create some of that magic they brought us back in the 90’s. If this comes together I will be first in line to get grab their new material, and don’t worry, I will be there to spread the word of this event!
Fingers crossed and swallow your medicine in Heroic Doses.