With so many options at their disposal, it would be interesting to see what they think they play. But their online presence is not forthcoming with a unified front (or, really, any front) on that note, so we’ll have to just play it by ear.
On its face, Chikita Violenta is a Mexican indie-rock band singing in English and released by a highly respected Canadian record label (Arts & Crafts). They take after the late, great Grandaddy in that they write indie-rock songs that exist somewhere between pop and rock; not quite as rebellious as real rock, but not as melody-centric as real pop. Chikita Violenta’s fuzzed-out songs seem to be most focused on fitting into a specific vision for the album, as opposed to any preconceived notions of genre.
And that makes this album an incredibly cohesive, uniquely fulfilling experience. It’s not very good as background music, nor is it radio-ready. But if you like sitting around and listening to music, this will satisfying those longings. The bulk of the songs are intimate yet complex constructions. At the extremes, there are incredibly gentle moments and sweeping swaths of fuzzed-out grandeur. The most standard tune here is “ATPG,” which rides on murmured vocals and a tom-and-bass heavy drum beat. It sounds the most like Grandaddy, and that’s a great thing.
Other songs start out with conversational chatter; some songs abruptly quit, having said their bit. The whole album pieces together like a puzzle, with various themes and moods coming around full circle. There are a lot of interesting beats in “The Monster (Was Last Seen Approaching The Power Plant).” The lazy guitar work of “Siren” has almost nothing to do with those beats. The nearly punk speed and fervor of “The Pause” is a different animal entirely. But they all fit together in the context of the album, and it’s a beautiful thing how that happens.
This is artsy, for sure. There’s not an easily definable single, and it’s got a lot of psych/lo-fi, Deerhunter/Neutral Milk Hotel vibes going on. If you’re into that sort of thing, “Tre3s” is the sort of thing you’ll be really into. —Stephen Carradini