Juán Tigre’s releases The Dream Catcher LP
“Through the Vines,” the first song in the eight-movement tracklist comprising Juán Tigre’s virgin outing The Dream Catcher, comes into focus with a deep, spoken word vocal against a backdrop of frayed noise – a mere glimpse at what’s to come. The voice is commanding, and surprisingly enough, so are the shards of music beginning to take shape in the background. Roughly one minute into The Dream Catcher, its title track emerges from behind the wall of ambient textures set forth in the intro and instantly gets us grooving to a rhythm as addictive as any narcotic known to man today. The percussion comes to life as though racing against time to cure any boredom that might have existed within the listener prior to now, and atop its blustery beat, we find a melody as crisp as it is spellbinding.
“Grácia” steps into the shows of its predecessor in the tracklist without skipping a beat, filling the air around us with a pressurized harmony that is even more telling of singer John Maestas’ mood than his lyrics are. This song isn’t sporting the muscle that heavy rocker “In These Veins” is, but the stylistic gap between the two compositions isn’t as wide as it might appear on paper. There’s an amalgamation of influences in play here, with Juán Tigre borrowing as much from the guttural angst of grunge as they do the dreamy surrealism of 80’s alternative rock acts like Sonic Youth, and for as diverse a collection of songs as this LP ultimately is, they navigate the experimental territory marvelously.
“Drama Bomb” drops an explosive hook into the middle of The Dream Catcher before turning us over to the pensive, tension-driven “Bloodsuckers,” my favorite track on the album. These two songs are perhaps the most radio-friendly of any featured here, but while they’re definitely more familiar in tone to mainstream listeners than the colorful “Más” might be, all three of these tracks make for fine neighbors thanks to Juán Tigre’s progressive sensibilities. John Maestas is always at the center of the spotlight, but with the assistance of some well-chosen backing players – including Violeta Del Rio and Stephen Lands, who stop by for “Más” and “Bloodsuckers” – he turns this experimental project into must-listen music without question in this LP.
The Dream Catcher comes to a conclusion with the plodding groove of the decadently distorted “Memória,” but the excitement it induces upon every listening session it’s afforded doesn’t end when this song does. Juán Tigre’s debut is a record that I would recommend listening to from beginning to end without any interruption, much as you would a traditional concept album, but spending time with its ambitiously-crafted content doesn’t feel like an intellectual exercise exclusively. There’s a lot to take away from its eight elegant tracks, and after becoming hypnotized by its sharp harmonies and intriguing textures this past week, I can definitely see why it’s getting praise it is right now. Juán Tigre are onto something good here, and once you hear The Dream Catcher yourself, I think you’ll agree.