Haunting ‘bugle calls’ bookend the album and provide the continuity that permeates “Suramérica”; the catchy title track with its surging bass lines (Francisco Cortez), solid drum grooves (Félix Carbone) and soaring synth lines (Pablo Martinez) pull you right in, a clean and fluid guitar break (Ismael Cortez) cutting through the music like a bird in flight. ‘Canoeros celeste’ has the jerky, complicated rhythms of Gentle Giant, the organ and harpsichord sounds reinforcing the comparison, with a fine organ solo and a thoughtful guitar break. ‘Nómades’, starts with what sounds like a bamboo flute and violincello, a grand exposition conjuring up exotic forests, with sublime guitar passages and a repetitive chorus as a hook.
As the album progresses the synth and guitar work continue to impress, as do the impressionistic atmospheres the band conjure up. ‘La Huida’ is the real jewel in the crown, a mesmerising mixture of electric and acoustic moments; the guitar/ synth progressions seem familiar, like some long-lost prog rock classic, Gentle Giant again seeming the nearest comparison. ‘Danza Rebelde’ is a skilfully crafted instrumental in a style reminiscent of ELP in the organ and the galloping drums, their ‘Fanfare for A Common Man’ perhaps! ‘La Unión’ is a nice surprise, a poignant solo piano piece played by guest Cecilia Cortez. ‘Elementos’ is another infectious, anthemic piece with excellent vocal combinations.
The uniqueness of Tryo’s sound owes much to the integration of some traditional Andean/ World instruments within the music. Aided by guest musicians these include a trutruca, a wind instrument sounding like a trumpet; a tumbadaros (a kind of conga drum); a quena (known as the flute of the Andes); a charango (part of the lute family) and the more familiar djembe ‘goblet’ drum. There is also a fifth member of the group: Felipe Baldrich who plays Indian drums, electric vibraphone and cascahuillas (bells).
This Chilean band has been in existence since 1996; this is my first experience, and a revelation! “Suramérica” is their first album for seven years since the positively reviewed concept album “Órbitas”. It comes highly recommended and is on Mylodon Records.