The New World, Pepito‘s third album, takes the electronic music duo of Ana Machado and José Márquez into a candy-colored underworld where pop music legends share Cuban espressos with IDM pioneers and indie rockers offer long, loving back rubs to Hip Hop beatmakers. Written and recorded in just six months, The New World is Pepito’s most infectious collection of songs to date, with sure-to-please tracks like the anthemic Get Out, featuring Chris Groves of Citizens Here and Abroad, and the album’s namesake, a buoyant cut-up of 80s pop anchored in the none-too-ironic state of the nation. Pepito, who recently moved from San Francisco to Madrid, have dedicated this record to California, calling it “the place where America ends and tomorrow begins.”
From the epic A Day in L.A., which features guest vocals by David Kesler of the indie rock group Thee More Shallows alongside Wobbly, a seasoned collaborators of such experimental electronic music acts as Matmos and People Like Us, to the Bollywood-by-the-Bay shoulder-shaler Por Que, which hitches a rocking electropop-funk arrangement to toorh-achingly sweet vocals by Pepito’s Ana Machado.
In a marked departure from their previous two full-lengths, Pepito’s The New World features an even split between English and Spanish language vocals, offering many of the U.S. fans a first look at one of the group’s rare strengths: intelligent, romantic and unpretentious lyrics. But the record’s true revelations is the blossoming pop sensibilities of this boy-girl team — a flair nonetheless rooted in the present (if not the future) tense.
Returning fans will delight at the now laser-sharp genre of bending (or breaking) that first put Pepito on the map, highlighted on this album by the track B.U.S.I.N.E.S.S., which manages to swing from the Cuban Bola de Nieve like piano stylings to Germanic Pole inflected dub in less time than it takes you to say “bolero” in binary code. The New World is that rare album which excludes the “you-know-it-when-yiu-hear-it” power pop music as well as the “wtf-was-that” directness of the best new music. After garnering surprising critical praise with their 2002 debut Migrante, it was clear that Pepito’s promise was unparalleled in the Spanish-language indie music scene.
This new year, on the strength of an album filled with funk and fiction, punk and poise, they’ll extend their purple reign to the rest of the New World.