Wild Honey – Torres Blancas

Album Review | Lovemonk Records | Review by Marc Higgins | Stars: 3/5

Torres Blancas is the third album for Wild Honey the electronic folk pop vehicle for Spanish singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Guillermo Farre.  Torres Blanco is 10 tracks of bright upbeat hazy electronica, pop songs and beautifully sunny vocals.  Farre’s previous albums, Epic Handshakes and a Bear Hug (2009) and Big Flash (2013) were both sung in English.  Returning to his mother tongue he feels has allowed greater self-expression.  To ears so used to hearing English vocals the combination of whispered or gently sung Spanish lyrics, shimmering electric guitars and retro electronic percussion gives it all the sheen of Lounge exotica or Tropicalia.  As sophisticated as sipping a cold cocktail while gazing at a perfect sunset or the distant Corcovada Mountain.  A self-confessed film geek who works by day for a classic films channel, Janus like, Guillermo is comfortable looking backwards and forwards, drawing on his collectors thirst for everything that is retro, pulling in elements of psychedelia, 60s pop, film music and electronica.  “Reverb Infinita” and “Siguiendo A Desconocidos” both have a wonderful keyboard passages that could be straight off a 60s Sci Fi film before they dissolve into effortlessly beautiful exotic pop.  Stereolab’s Tim Gane worked on Big Flash and band mate Sean O’Hagan contributes orchestral arrangements to Torres Blancas.  This long association, or maybe a shared vision means you can hear elements of Stereolabs retro keyboard drum patterns, keyboards and period intelligent pop in a lot of this album “El Volcan De Monserrat” is atmospheric vocals, gritty compressed percussion and some gloriously uplifting lush strings. Torres Blancas marries the perfect breathy pop vocals with those rich strings and Farre’s 60s guitar lines.  Tracks like “Ojo De Cristal” and “Mapas De Zonas Desiertas” have a soupy hallucinogenic grainy production layered around the vocals of Guillermo and Anita Steinberg and that chiming guitar.  “Desenfocada Out Of Focus” perfectly sums that bright pop rock 60s vibe with that musical fuzziness like been two glasses down a summer bottle of white wine.  The chorus vocals and that big guitar sound is just glorious.  This is top down summer driving or beach music like early Everything But The Girl or an retro analogue keyboard version of Simon And Garfunkel.  The easy tempos and washes of sound both cushion and uplift.  Like all classic intelligent 60s-esque pop albums it is short and focused at thirty five minutes of distilled down songs and sounds, leaving you wanting more.