It’s been a while since I’ve shown some love for one of my favorite and lesser known music genres: Latin rock. It wasn’t until I received a submission to the site from Spain that my intrigue was spiked once again. This time it comes in the form of El Tubo Elastico, a Latin, instrumental, and progressive rock band from Jerez. Their self-titled debut is an accessible album for listeners discovering the great music that resides outside their borders.
Upon listening to this album for the first time, I could not help but make the comparison with Latin proggers the Mars Volta. Not to say El Tubo Elastico is as experimental (and downright ridiculous) as the prog veterans, but you can hear the influences within the music. Much of the album uses phased out, delayed, and other forms of manipulated guitar, reminding me of TMV albums like “Tremulant” and “Deloused In A Comatorium.” Even the album cover looks like something crafted by Mars Volta side project Zech Marquise. Despite the similar sound, I actually approve of the similarity, considering the Mars Volta and their related side projects are all but gone. “El Tubo Elastico” easily satisfies that craving, and is a great contemporary replacement. With jazzy improvisations, ambient synthesizers, and psychedelic noodling, El Tubo Elastico manages to capture everything that is great about jazz-fusion, all while incorporating their own flair.
With further influences from bands like Muse, Porcupine Tree, Yes, Riverside, and many others, one cannot deny the talent these four gentlemen have. Considering three of the four members share synthesizer duties, “El Tubo Elastico” is riddled with sound manipulation. As stated earlier, each song contains layers of sound, usually building off simple guitar riffs and increasing in complexity through the song’s duration. This style is most evident in closer “Vampiros y Gominolas,” with a simple delayed guitar rhythm opening the song. By the song’s end, I’m left sitting in awe that such an intricate piece was built off of a modest guitar section, including classic piano, technical drum beats, and a booming bass line. I was also fascinated with the collaboration between guitarists Dani Gonzalez and Vicen Rivas, who masterfully cooperate with each other throughout the album. The mixture of clean and overdriven guitars, of complementing rhythms, and the split sounds coming from different earphones absolutely beautiful. I definitely recommend you listen to this album with both earphones in, or else you’ll miss half the music! If it weren’t for one other member that shined to me in this band, I’d say this was my favorite aspect of this album.
Fortunately, the listener is treated to amazing bass guitar throughout “El Tubo Elastico.” Alfonso Romero is undeniably a great bass guitarist, providing the grooviest bass lines I’ve heard in a long time. The intro alone to “Camaleon” is a perfect example of the great bass solos contained in this album. Playing alongside both guitarists and dancing between groovy and cymbal-heavy drum beats from Carlos Cabrera, I cannot help but focus entirely on the bass guitar. Romero leads sections, and provides the rhythm in others. He carries a song during softer sections, and is spotlighted on others. If anything, you should listen to this album simply to hear him play.
Lasting around 45 minutes, El Tubo Elastico’s self titled album should be listened to any fan of progressive or instrumental rock, or by anyone interested in a taste of Latin rock. If you like albums by Eric Baule or Farol Cego mentioned previously on this site, then this album is definitely for you. The sound manipulation, the bass heavy sound, and the Latin flavor; all the right elements are in there. If I had only one small complaint for this album, it’s the same as all other great instrumental bands: where’s the singer?! They’ve already proven they are amazing musicians just by the orchestration itself. Enlisting a singer to provide another level of songwriting will make this band shine in a whole other level. You can support this band by checking out their Bandcamp page and downloading their latest album for free! You can also support them by following their Facebook page for band news. The skies the limit with this band, and I can’t wait to hear what they create next.
Enjoy a complimentary listen of “El Tubo Elastico” from Bandcamp below: