Peruvian duo Bellatin Bruno and Nicolas Saba sound something like a cross between Café Tacuba on their folk tracks and Devendra Banhart on his less depressed days. Throughout their just-released debut album, Caracoles (out on MX/Peru label Ombligo), the group, going by the name Kanaku y El Tigre, maintains an almost Leonard Cohen-esque lyricism, deceptively simple and rich with subtext. These are the kinds of songs you’d expect in an indie film soundtrack. Their introspection and calm never drudge into dreariness and always remain ironically uplifting. This unique presentation of urban strife and straight forward storytelling makes Caracoles complex without being overly complicated. Bike rides and banjos, coke-laced smiles and guitar twangs complete this album’s elegance. “Tu verano, mi invierno” and “Exorcist love song” stand out on this album for their tight composition and upbeat resignation, and “Bicicleta” and “Lucía” have a sweetness to them that lend warmth to the project. But every song on this album hums with quiet maturity. Singing in either English or Spanish, Saba retains a refreshing earnestness.
Listen to Kanaku y El Tigre’s sweet-sounding debut LP Caracoles in its entirety below. Also watch the video for the title track.