Big Black Delta - Trágame Tierra

Review by Dom Vigil

Big Black Delta’s newest release, Trágame Tierra is the definition of ambitious. Layers upon layers of sound create the full feeling that flows from track to track, regardless of how upbeat and poppy or slow and minimalistic the song may be. The resulting intensity makes it impossible to ignore Trágame Tierra even if you tried.

Things don’t begin with a bang, as most would expect, though. Starting Trágame Tierra is “H.A.,” which doesn’t start off as fast paced or aggressive as most songs on the album, but it does a great job of immersing you into Jonathan Bates’ world. Complete with soft synths and eerie, haunting yet beautiful vocals, “H.A.” is nothing short of intriguing, at the very least. It may start off slow, but this first track leaves you wanting more, with multiple layers that just keep coming and coming, while still feeling somewhat simplistic and empty.

Bates pulls out all the stops for the following track, “Steer The Canyon,” though. Contrasting perfectly with the opening track, this song is absolutely massive. It’s impossible to focus on simply one aspect of the song, because just as you start to enjoy the soulful vocals or bass heavy synth, something else gets thrown into the mix to catch you off guard. “Steer The Canyon” just feels like an assault on all of your senses, and in the best way possible. It’s busy, but not distractingly so, upbeat without losing any meaning or soul. And as it turns out, the following ten songs follow suit.

Coming after “Steer The Canyon” is “RCVR,” which is just as ambitious as the second track, if not more so. Taking on a more 80’s synth pop sound, heavy with groovy bass licks and pounding drums, “RCVR” is the perfect dance track. And true to the incredible sound that Big Black Delta has created, “RCVR” feels very full and keeps you guessing, with wild synth mixing things up just a little over halfway through the song.

Things mellow out a little bit in the softer track, “Bitten By The Apple,” but it isn’t any less spectacular than “RCVR,” with stunning vocal harmonies taking the lead over retro sounding synth. “Kid Icarus,” which follows is the first time that things may feel a little busy on Trágame Tierra, but it’s very easy to overlook, especially when the catchy, synth driven choruses come in. It’s impossible not to bob your head along.

The best thing about Trágame Tierra is the intricacy of each track. Even in the most quiet moments, there is still something interesting happening to keep you attention, and in the busier parts of the album, you are bombarded with layer after beautiful layer of careful composition and incredible songwriting. Songs like “Overlord” and the darker, “Let’s Go Home” are intense but just shy of being too much, while “Strange Cakes” is much more quiet and atmospheric, and the energy remains the same no matter what. Another strong track is “Well My Heart,” driven by layers among layers of commanding and beautiful vocals.

Whenever you do listen to Trágame Tierra all the way through, I urge you to do so by giving it your complete and undivided attention (and preferably with the best headphones you can find.) The only downside of this album is the fact that you really need to clear your mind and devote your full attention to it go appreciate everything, and that isn’t really much of a downside after all, is it? Big Black Delta has created a theatrical, catchy and most of all intricate release with Trágame Tierra, and one that will be hard (but hopefully not impossible) to top.

Rating: 5/5

Listen to "Steer The Canyon" or "RCVR"

STAY CONNECTED WITH BIG BLACK DELTA: https://www.facebook.com/bigblackdelta