LA JR uznano za najbardziej "niespodziewany" w historii zespół hiszpański (a może nawet europejski?). Frank, Rafa i Borja klasyfikują swoją twórczość jako dadaistyczny pop, mimo, że do końca nie wiemy co sam termin "dada" oznaczać ma dla zespołu, tak jak trudno określić ich muzyczną, godną uwagi różnorodność. "17 animales" zawiera w sobie określenia: dark lounge, trance, kraut-rock groove, free jazz albo nawet anti-jazz-folk! Na ten szufladkowy zestaw brzmień składa się nagromadzenie rozmaitych materiałów, których dźwięk (oprócz podstawowych instrumentów jak pianino, trąbka, smooth-jazzowa perkusja) przywołuje na myśl porcelanę, drewno i szkło. Do tego dochodzi ochrypły bas, nachodzące fale szumów i brzęczących dźwięków. "17 animales" to album o współczesności na wielu płaszczyznach, śmierci, seksie, transformacji życia w sztukę i odwrotnie.
Głosy z internetowego świata:
With seldom a blurb of mention in music encyclopedias and historical documentaries (unless it’s lumped in the insanely broad “World Music” category), non-English speaking rock and pop music has played an unrecognized and significant role in the art form we hold so near and dear to our hearts. Whether it be the silky French lust ballads of Serge Gainsbourg, the robotic rhythms of German electronic pioneers Kraftwerk (whose first few albums were sung entirely in their native language), the psychedelic sitar work of Ravi Shankar, the militant funk jams of Nigerian Fela Kuti (his lyrics were usually a combination of English and native African languages), or the full-throttle Japanese punk of Guitar Wolf, some of the best music in pop history has come from countries and places where England is not the primary language. Madrid, Spain’s JR attempts to carry on the tradition of classic international pop recordings with its full-length debut La JR.
Sung entirely in Spanish, JR delivers a breezily memorable recording filled with lush 60s pop tones and traces of ambient keyboards and jazzy experimental touches (a la Sea and Cake) mixed in to great effect. JR weaves its way through 10 tracks loaded with Serge Gainsbourg seduction pop (“Cualquier Cosa de Este Dia,” “Me Debes Fusilar,” and “Hilos Tendidos De Alta Tension”), dark atmospheric lounge singing (“Eh Mono” and the spellbinding “Las Nubes Lentas”), and songs that could easily be mistaken for 70s European soft-core soundtracks (“Contra Senor Contra”).
The lack of English will almost certainly alienate some listeners, but Rafael Martinez Del Pozo's cool yet immediate vocal delivery (along with the occasional weird vocal effects) helps to break down much of the language barrier. Even if an unsophisticated listener still has trouble getting beyond the Spanish, a couple of the best songs are primarily instrumental including “Las Dos En La Nave,” the best moment on the record.
“ Las Dos En La Nave” combines Air-like ambient keyboards, jazzy cymbal work, and a trancey, Kraut-rock groove. The hypnosis of the song evokes many of the same feelings as a 20-minute epic about cruising down a scenic stretch of the Autobahn does – and that's quite an achievement.
Comparing JR with classic foreign-language artists like Kraftwerk, Serge Gainsbourg, and others is not only unfair given the reputation the band would have to uphold, but it also does these folks a disservice. JR's debut La JR stands on its own as a solid and original recording without any need for novelty status or the garnering of fans who will only listen to it for the hip obscurity factor, which are barriers the aforementioned non-English speaking artists managed to breakdown in their own time.
One of my favorite indie labels Acuarela Discos sent me a huge package and I had been literally trembling from excitement when I saw what it contained. I was excited to hear this band JR. And I wasn’t disappointed in the least with their jazzy indie rock sound that show off some tremendous chops amid Spanish lyrics with vocals that do the great music more than its fair share of justice. Art rock hasn’t sounded this good in a long while.
LA JR is Borja Fernandez Fernandez (banjo, piano, melodica, percussion), Frank Rudow (bateria, metalofon, bongo, organ, percussion), and Rafael Martinez Del Pozo (vocals, guitar, metalofon, organ, percussion). One might surmise from the instruments used on this album that LA JR is definitely not a conventional band. These three gentlemen write and record soft and subtle moody progressive pop compositions. Their songs are, fortunately, sung entirely in Spanish...which only adds to the band's mystique. Great restraint was used in recording these tunes...which feature lots of airy open space and superbly hushed vocals. You won't find any "hit" tunes here, as this album spins something like a collection of modern mood pieces. Intricate and peculiar, the CD features ten tracks including "Cualquier Cosa De Este Dia," "Copo De Nieve Y Yo," and "Cuatro Pares De Caballos Blancos." Lovely and enchanting.