Serpentina Satélite is a Peruvian space rock band of epic proportions. They are experiencing great success with the release of their latest album Mecánica Celeste, but are just as enthusiastic about the vinyl reissue (rerelease date: October 28rd) of their highly acclaimed sophomore Nothing to Say (2008), released on the German label, A Trip in Time.
After finding success by playing in several underground psychedelic music festivals early on in their career, the band worked feverishly to create this textured psychedelic 5-track record.
“Nueva Ola,” the first track on Nothing to Say, begins with a droned, one note bass tone. When the song sets in, it’s clear that it’ll require patience and an acquired palette for psychedelic music. The trick is to let “Nueva Olsa” wash over you, and openly allow the song to take you on a journey. The band chose to use a child vocalist to almost forcefully whisper Spanish lyrics over the spaced-out and lengthy song. The music builds with a calculated crescendo, adding different sounds and several textures until you’re encountered with a full, bellowing experimental jam session. It sets the tone of the album with its mix of hand drums and a traditional drum kit which shows off the Latin influence in Serpentina Satélite’s musical taste and cultural background.
The second song and title-track “Nothing to Say” resonates with classic rock’s Black Sabbath, and Serpentina Satélite’s worthy psychedelic rock peers, Dead Meadow. The song is enjoyable because it’s more of a traditional heavy rock song, chocked full of driving guitar melodies and impressive moments of solo guitar performances. It also encompasses a more traditional vocal structure where we finally get to hear a lead vocalist’s voice. This track really shows what the band can do instrumentally, but continues to keep the psyched-out experimental vibe of the previous track by mixing in eerie and experimental tones that set the band apart from others. There’s an audial build and a breakdown that brings an air of abandonment at about five minutes into the seven minute track, and practically leaves you in a psychedelic oasis where there’s no way out. Luckily, the band yanks you by the hair out of the dark pool of sound for one last amazing jam that leaves you invigorated and wondering what is next.
“The Last Drop” is the first and only song on the album with English lyrics. The vibe of this track is very similar to the Austin, Texas underground rock sound and gives a temperament of The Black Angels’ moody and dark psyche aesthetic. I’d consider “The Last Drop” to be the sexiest and most coherent song of the album. Nonetheless, it’s still very tripped out with monotone poetry being chanted over the spacey song. While you’re tasting the English words with wet lips, the singer asks, “Are we there yet?” The answer is: not yet. But again, with this tune, you finally feel like you’re getting somewhere.
“Madripoor” is the shortest work on the album, but it is also the mightiest. The songs seem to get heavier and heavier, and more American influenced as the album moves forward. In “Madipoor,” Serpentina Satélite is just shredding. If you love rock and roll, I suggest you listen to this entire album because by the 4th track, you are simply faced with beautiful heavy metal-driven riffs, and you also get a real taste of the full spectrum of the band’s compositional talent.
“Kommune I” is a 23 minute ode that touches on more of a prog rock theme, but holds the pace and the energy of the heavier tracks of Nothing to Say. It’s very interesting simply for the musicianship and the textual experience it creates; completely instrumental — basically one long jam.
The most notable thing to be understood about Serpentina Satélite is that they’re a great live band. I knew from the first song that they could definitely be considered a jam band. They really take the psyche elements from Black Sabbath, the long jam tirades of Dead Meadow, and the dark drone feel of The Black Angels down a Latin flavored avenue that is exciting and very intriguing. They are a worthy band rereleasing a wonderfully worthy album.