Some Albums Teach You How to Eat Ghosts
Pepito, Everything Changes
(Static Discos), 2004
[This review appeared on PopMatters
, but was altered. Here is its original format. Because I can.]
[Oh, and I am NOT repping this record because I want Jose Marquez to write more for The Freelance Mentalists. I am doing it because I love it. I also love Superaquello.]
Wherein, José y Ana transcribe their world,
their wild wonderful multi-colored multi-cultural world,
a world where Can and the Cure jam with Neruda and Martí and Fuentes,
a world where los vampiros play video games,
un mundo adonde todo cambia cada single día,
the world where we all live.
In this world, we don’t “rock” as much as we used to;
it’s blips and bleeps now, fragmentos del quotidienne,
the detritus of la cultura, wedges of the circula rather than the circula itself.
Sometimes these parts add up to the whole,
sometimes they’re more than 100%, sometimes less.
Songs change halfway through, mutate before our eyes,
I blame the environment for that, define that as you will.
In “Habla Con Él,” a man wakes up after somehow being buried/frozen,
the music starts and stops and stutters and sings and slides,
but changes when he starts to speak, becomes more crystalline,
José croons “What will he say, what does he say, what can he say after all those years?”
but then we never learn the answer.
There are no answers in Pepito songs,
only questions, only love, only fear.
Why in “Toros” are the bulls slicing and cutting and shredding us?
The only answer is “Yo sé, yo sé que no me lo merezco,”
“I know, I know that I don’t deserve this.”
Why in “Julio” is Ana trapped in a video game, running through endless hallways?
Is Julio really a person, is he Cortázar, is he the madness of July?
We don’t know, we will never know,
all we will ever know is that “Y entonces / Puedo comer / (Chomp!) / Fantasmas,”
“And then I can eat ghosts.”
José is de Cuba, Ana is de Mexico,
together they are “Tijuana Habana” but they live and work in San Francisco,
this is not your típico globalismo,
this is not your typical “Latin” music either.
These songs float back and forth between ingles y español,
between organic and manmade, between art and work and politics,
“in the forest in the dark, in the fraction of a spark,”
prose and poetry, vida y muerte, sueños and reality,
a real “sugar sex freedom express.”
And yeah it’s twee as hell at times,
two nerdy/tough artists in love:
“Girl, I want us to play on the same dodgeball team,
I can get hit out first, you can get hit out next, and we can hold hands.”
Aw that’s sweet.
Especially when the next song is “Car Crash,”
death’s greatest emo slow jam,
the music is Eno tenderly caressing an old Tortoise record,
two vocal lines fighting with each other to see which can be sadder,
life is over, “el tren sin fin se fue sin mi,”
and it just peters out three times, heartbeat keeps ending and restarting
but there is no hope, not really.
Aw that’s sweet too.
It doesn’t really sound much like Migrante
doesn’t rock like a beast except for one brief moment
at the beginning of “Vampiros” and twice in the middle of “El Ultimo Día.”
It also doesn’t sound like any other record ever made.
It sounds like the sounds inside my head,
inside my beating gringo heart,
all over the big wide wild mundo moderno.
It is frustrating because every song changes,
the world is frustrating because everything changes every single day,
neither one can be memorized but both must be memorialized,
these songs are a record of where we are.
Ana Machado and José Márquez son dos “soldados, desnudos, sin temor,”
they tell us “if you wanna fight, take it off,”
they’re blogging the human condition.
This album proves the existence of love on Earth.