Meridian Brothers – ¿Dónde Estás María?

Album Review | Soundway | Review by Liam Wilkinson | Stars: 3/5

Beginning life as a one-man conceptual project in the late nineties, Meridian Brothers has developed into a constantly imaginative and exciting live quintet.  For ¿Dónde Estás María?, founder Elibis Alvarez returns to the studio to cook up ten infectiously lively and eccentric tracks that propel Colombian psychedelic music into a wholly new domain via an inventive blending of electronic and analogue sounds.  Alvarez brings traditional sensibilities to his forward-facing music for this constantly engaging outing and whilst tracks such as “Yo Soy Tu Padre”, “Yo Te Fabrique” and “Hablame Amigo, Citadino” are clearly rooted in Cumbia and the musics of pre and post-colonial Colombia, they shimmer around their very modern edges thanks to some wonderfully painterly synths and inventive filtering and layering of Alvarez’s vocals.  Where this album really triumphs, however, is in its generous and notably hypnotic use of strings.  On “Como Estoy En Los Sesenta”, for example, Alvarez’s string arrangements infuse the piece with a gripping drama whilst the nasal, sneering cello on “Estare Alegre”, “No Estare Triste” transports this fascinating record into a delightfully otherworldly realm.