Que Buena Vaina
spokerman12, on april 29, 2015 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: Released on April 25th 2015, "Qué Buena Vaina" is the debut LP of the alternative rock band Retrovisor (Reh-troh-vee-sor). Retrovisor hails from Caracas, Venezuela, and over these past few months they have been able to amass an important amount of fans and followers because of their in-your-face approach to the daily angst of the average Venezuelan guy. On vocals and guitar, there's Juan Manuel Fernández, backed up by Jonathan "Jony" Casas, who in conjunction deliver the perfect balance between clean, tight-pitched vocals, and soulful distorted screams, as it can be heard in "Viaje Pal Sol" (Trip to the Sun), the opening track on the album.
The album's excellent production is something you do not see very often in the Caracas' rock scene, with the addition of foley effects and variations between distorted rock and different styles of music, Retrovisor was able to give birth to another form the half-blood child that most of us know as Venezuelan rock music.
Juan Manuel and Venezuelan rock guitar-legend Jorge Spiteri are responsible for the production of the album. Juan and Jony's guitars sound very full, chunky and rich, so you can go ahead and turn up those speakers to have a taste of what Retrovisor's guitar duo have got for you. Rhythmically for rock guitar standards, the album is a delicious treat. The solo work put in by both guitarists fits just right the style of the band; they know where to unleash the beast and where to keep it mellow. But I think that they could have gone a bit further with the lead guitar parts composition-wise; maybe take few more chances, but they still manage to hit the spot thoroughly.
The original bass player of Retrovisor was Diego Pérez Fabbio, who had to leave the country because of the precarious political, economic and social crisis we have to endure every day in this country. But luckily, the one to replace him was Antonio Romero, who pretty much re-recorded every bass track from the top to the bottom, adding his powerful and heavy style to the mix. You can clearly hear his work on the heaviest track of the album, "Karma."
Finally, we have Santiago De La Fuente on drums. Sandel lays on "Qué Buena Vaina" his energetic drumming style, which gives Retrovisor both the loudness and tenderness that make it the unique blend of styles that they have created. Sandel's playing is like a standard rock and reggae mix of styles, but on high doses of caffeine, that kick in on the right moments in the album and in their live sessions.
"Qué Buena Vaina" is a delight to listen to, plain and simple. The songs are catchy and the songs are extremely likable; it is very hard to find someone that could say "This does not sound good," because it does. // 9
Lyrics: All of the lyrics were written by Juan Manuel Fernández, with the exception of "No Volveré a Tomar," "La Vida Que Vivimos" and "Confusión," which were written by Jonathan, Santiago and Diego respectively.
The album's concept revolves around the daily livings of Retrovisor's own character named the "Iguano," a Venezuelan iguana hassled by the hardships that the Venezuelan youth has to face every day. From corrupt cops in "Qué Mala Suerte" up to asking yourself what will you do with your life, rather than settling with "coffee or TV" in "Café y Televisión." Then, you may add the constant presence of alcohol and partying in Iguano's life, going from bar to bar to escape the harsh reality we live in: Another night, another girl, another bar, another planet ("Otro Planeta").
Even though the themes are easy to relate to (and one might even say superficial on "No Volveré a Tomar"), underneath lies the urge for change, and the impotency of not being able to do anything about the struggles that appear throughout Iguano's life. "Qué Buena Vaina" (Some Good Sh-t) is the optimistic point of view of a very serious and deep issue that concerns most of us some time in our lives. Retrovisor manages to take the difficulties and render them into anthems of "I just don't see reason in worrying anymore, let us rock." Note the difference between most tracks and "Karma," where anger is the predominant feeling. // 7
Overall Impression: Retrovisor's "Qué Buena Vaina" is unique in its kind thanks to the people that made it possible and all the talent within, conjoined with the current crisis in Venezuela and the social stagnant pool we live in, where morals are twisted, justice doesn't exist and laws are just a reference. "Qué Buena Vaina" is an effort to prove that even though everything seems lost, it is possible to live in an "alternate reality" where we can choose our own path to demise; in Retrovisor's case, a path full of good vibes, guitars, booze, and other fun substances.
You can get "Qué Buena Vaina" at Retrovisor's Bandcamp. // 8