Posts Tagged ‘Robert Sotelo’

Order of the Toad

Always happy to see some familiar names pop up together in collaboration and this eccentric pop nugget from Order of the Toad brings together The Wharves’ Gemma Fleet and Robert Sotelo, who released a gem of an album for Upset The Rhythm last year. Their combined talents pick at a few fun pockets of sound — mixing psych-pop and the occasional dip into propulsive disco swing with a grandiose, Baroque approach that positions them as the Left Banke or Ultimate Spinach of indie pop. Every band today dreams of the Ultimate Spinach name drop, no? Strums and jangles trade their place with ceremonial stabs of organ. The vocals swap swiftly between Fleet and Sotelo with the former reaching for the higher registers that stretch for a heighten pop excess that’s picking up the English folk fascination of the ‘70s and threading it through the glam-wrapped excess of the following decade’s decadence.

Plenty are treading in the waters of psych-pop, but these days there’s something of a slickness that infects quite a few or a retread element that feels like paying homage to an almost exacting degree. Like their fellow UK psych exports Wax Machine, this one feels like its made by voracious devourers of the past who weave the ends of their obsessions together into new strains of psych sickness that continue the traditions of generations past rather than just look to scan and print a reasonable facsimile. Though they don’t let the occasional foray into the lysergic pool drown them in the genre. The tone shifts and the trappings skitter between aesthetic poles, but that only makes the album all the more dizzying and delightful. This one gets under the skin nicely.



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Robert Sotelo

Robert Sotelo’s third LP, and his first for skewed pop stable Upset The Rhythm, is both sublimely serene and incessantly itchy. His pop comes on like the warm confines of a sweater that reveals itself to irritate the skin. There’s a squirm to songs like “Mister,” or the title track “Infinite Sprawling” but it doesn’t seem to bother Sotelo. He’s lost in the confines of his mind, locked away from the tether of earthly irritation. The pontifications of Sotelo’s pop are, in fact, comforting. He’s lost like you are. He’s nagged and dogged by the same singularities that give you pause, but he’s confident in his croon and it makes it seem right. But what’s that clanking? It’s off behind the buttery guitars and jangled hooks and it seems to be getting closer. More often than not there’s a buzz, the odd xylophone rhythm, the croak of frogs that sets a track off the path and dipping into the bog on that’s built up around the preserve.

He can cloak a track in amber country hues (“Run”) but it’s still tripping over its own feet and it feels good to know that we’re not alone in our own self-conscious tumble through the cosmos. Rob’s pop falls under the same full-moon sway that past primers like Moon Martin were bound embrace. He’s the outsider, but truthfully, he is all of us. He is dipped in pop, but he’s not comfortable with how deep he’s swum in its waters. His head is spinning with doubt, protracted and distracted. Inside his songs we’re narcotized and enjoying the party, but internally we can’t figure out why that stomach pain is so present, where it came from and what it means. Sotelo’s a master of moods and on Infinite Sprawling he’s captured a corner of the lounge that doesn’t get swept that often. Its’s nice picking through the detritus with him for a while.



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Robert Sotelo – “Mister”

‘Nother good one from Upset the Rhythm runs down the line. Robert Sotelo follows up his 2017 skewed-pop album Cusp with the equally beguiling Infinite Sprawling. The second single from the set, “Mister,” is a fuzz-beset pop-skimmer, slinging twang and jangle in equal helpings. Sotelo plays it straight, but the song’s got a bit of the curdled crowd in its DNA, picking up crumbs from the Deep Freeze Mice and The Soft Boys on the way through the wires. He’s paired the track up with a simple, yet unsettling video that’s cryptic as it is crazy.

Sotelo gives a bit of background behind the meaning of the clip, offering ”The video was made by Iain McCall and translates the lyrics for the song into Bliss Symbols. Iain himself stars in the vid. The song features Joan Sweeney from Current Affairs on vocals also and is about how constant online organisation around your creativity starts to take up more time than the creativity itself (well it kind of is haha)” His sophomore LP is out September 14th, and it’s a jittery shaker well worth your time.



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