Chilean progressive rock band Bauda has released their third album “Sporelights” just a couple weeks ago, but it is the first album I’ve ever heard of them. Gifted by Viral Propaganda PR, I’ve been enjoying their music for the past several weeks, letting its seemingly simplistic passages become the soundtrack to my day. For this reason I haven’t written about the album weeks ago when it was released, because the word seemingly didn’t sit right with me. It wasn’t until after several listens did I discover the entire depth of the album. Textures consistently build upon each other, whether it’s through the layered synthesizers, effect-driven guitar arrangements, or dominant mid-range vocals. The music on the album is extensive, so much so that the listener might experience a completely different feeling with every listen. In an attempt to stand out amongst talented progressive rock artists around the globe, I feel Bauda has made a strong case in “Sporelights.”
Having contemporary influences of bands like Porcupine Tree, Anathema, and The Pineapple Thief may help to build upon a solid fan base, knowing the successes that comes with the territory. In other cases, though, inserting yourself into such a situation might backfire; Like a small fish in a big sea, it is even harder to stand out among those that have already established their presence and dominated the market. With such a difficult task ahead, Bauda attempts and succeeds in releasing an album with the caliber to stand on its own. Relying on sensible melodies and emotional arrangements, “Sporelights” is less like losing oneself in a maze and more like riding a gentle wave. With powerful yet delicate passages, “Sporelights” has plenty of memorable moments that are comparable to artists that have long mastered the sound.
As the album opens with the effect-driven “Aurora,” a stylish drum beat carries the tune into the following track “Vigil.” It is this song that acts as a launching point for the rest of the album. Introducing a keyboard section that reminds me of Genesis’ “Mama,” the listener begins to envision an entirely new setting. With a massive sound reminiscent of stadium rock bands like Muse and Thirty Seconds To Mars, one cannot help picturing the lights and visuals that come with such a great venue. By the title track, there is no turning back; you’ve officially been sucked into the current. The feeling is the same even with “Tectonic Cells” and “War,” post-rock influenced tracks that are edgier and harder than most of the album. As the delayed guitar plays on, the listener cannot help but focus in on the other instruments of the band, primarily the riffy bass guitar throughout. Bauda is able to keep you on your toes, anticipating what’s next.
After listening to this album enough times, I started to notice that the guitar isn’t necessarily given the required spotlight like most rock bands. Often times, a simple guitar rhythm carries a track, but is relied upon synthesizers, drums, bass guitar, and vocals to build and evolve the sound. Being mixed into the album louder than most rock albums is Juan Diaz and his bass guitar, continually shining in unexpected ways. The song “Dawn Of Ages” comes to mind, with its naturally heavy air that relies on its bass rhythm to guide the way. The synthesizers also play a major role throughout the album, whether through the eccentric modern tones or the classic proggy arrangements. Either way they are necessary when inserted, helping to provide another element to an album already needing multiple listens to fully understand.
With a theme surrounding the struggle of the individual against society, one cannot be surprised by the content material given the locale of the band. Residing in a country known for restricting freedoms, the lyrics are given a more impactful and personal meaning, reaching closer to the heart. Singer Cesar Marquez is able to contain the energy required for such a statement and release it with a beautiful vocal performance. Dynamic, emotive, and inspiring, Marquez’s voice is easily my favorite aspect of this album, one I always come back to even when purposely focusing on the other members in the band.
There is enough on “Sporelights” to grab the attention of a casual listener. Whether it’s the larger-than-life atmosphere, the imagination-inducing guitar rhythms, or the deep bass lines, you will not be disappointed with Bauda’s latest release. Unfortunately, they are a band that have enough difficulty getting their name out there, considering the saturation of atmospheric progressive rock. I hope you all give Bauda a chance, as their latest release could easily compete with the bands the emulate. Please support Bauda by following them on their Facebook and Twitter pages for band updates.
Enjoy a complimentary listen of “Sporelights” through Bandcamp below: