Reviews Search

Migala, "Arde"

I'm a sucker for cowboy films. The kind of south of the border,gun-running, robbing banks, poor luck, cactus and tumbleweed epics thatSam Peckinpah and John Wayne used to make. Migala, though they may notknow it, write perfect soundtracks to modern westerns. I picture a bandof cowboys, running from the law and some grave mistake, staking it outin some dirt town everytime I put on "Arde," their first US-releasedfull-length. It's like Latin post-rock, but that's generalizing, and Ihate to generalize. Easily the greatest thing Belle and Sebastian'sStuart David is responsible for (he championed the band to Sub Pop),Migala create gritty soundscapes with twangy guitars and, sometimes,Leonard Cohen-esque vocals. "Arde," meaning "it burns," has a tragicflair to it, as each song seems to highlight some tragic moment intime. The album cover even features the end result of a tragic carwreck. As flavorful as this music is, what makes it stand out and grabthe listener is the sextet's use of ambient noise. Static, distortedguitar, xylophone/vibes, and keyboards add great range and depth towhat may easily become a tired sound after a few tracks (I lovewesterns, but do I own the soundtrack to "Stagecoach"?). Migala don'tstay too long on any one idea, and they don't ram their music down yourthroat. As dark as it may be, these songs have a playful quality tothem, bringing forth an inherent dichotomy I love to listen for. Letthere be no doubt: Migala are magical, and "Arde" is a whollyworthwhile listening experience.