Shoegaze is cool again, so they say. Is it really? Was it ever cool to begin with? We are reflexive when it comes to any 90s trend: if dungarees and Slayer tees are cool again, then shoegaze must be too. Mint Field are a psyh-rock duo from Tijuana, Mexico. Of their credentials I have no doubt.
Sure, they incorporate the expansive sound of shoegaze – the dreamlike, wandering tone of Loveless. But their intention stretches further than mere bandwagoning. Mint Field’s debut is a vision quest. We are left wandering through the barren, sun-bleached environs of our own mind. Spoken words are sparse, and when they do appear, they come in their native tongue, only adding to the exotic feel of this wonderful record.
The lack of context or detail allows Pasar De La Luces to relate to the listener on a personal level. It’s a Rorschach burned to wax. What you get out of the record relates to your own abstractions. That also means that some people will get nothing out of it at all. It’s like seeing shapes in clouds: some people aren’t into that existential stuff.
However the music is not without recommendation on its own merits. The sonics focus on fuzzed-out guitars and synthesiser tones so filthy they scarcely register as electronic at all. The jazz-inflected skittering beat that announces ‘Cambios Del Pasar’ adds a little urgency but not enough to jolt us from the album’s balmy revue.
The sound can be a little impenetrable. Pasar is an overcast sky. Sunshine does poke through occasionally, as on the soothing riff on ‘El Parque Pareceía No Tener Fin’. Call it anglophile laziness, but the English tracks are less opaque in their intentions. ‘Nostalgia’ evokes just that.
Pasar De La Luces is a rich, edifying listen. It won’t find a home on Radio 1 – hell, it’ll barely fit on Radio 6. Pay that no mind. For abstraction, you can do far worse.