Going international, rockers from Aguascalientes think big but fail to soar.
Mexico’s presence on a popular music’s map is quite sketchy, but this collective refuse to feel confined, and their first album harbors a high ambition in its ten tracks. Often guitar-intense, although mostly not in a heavy way, “Refraction” lays out its alternative cards too brazenly close to U2’s plate and lose their own persona along the way. But then, maybe they know it, and that’s what opener “Lost” is about, but it’s one of the tracks that actually move through riffing spikes and spans in search for identity. Merrit Williams’ voice possesses a soulful pull yet it dissolves in the instrumental airiness in the likes of “Puzzles” that flow on the same level, up to the point of indistinguishability from one another.
There’s a greater dynamic sway to “Stay Here” whose infectious rhythmic pattern betrays the ensemble’s provenance before a dance groove takes it to a different place, as does the pop melody of “Skyscraper,” but the 12 minutes of “Complication,” that runs from a sharp assault to ambient passages, hardly leave any room to breathe. Unlike this one, “Sound Of Drums” has a hit charisma to it, and closer “Storyline” resolves in a catchy singalong. Yet that’s not enough to bend a wave as the album’s title suggests, even though the ambition is respectable.