My first listen of Adios Amigo’s second EP, “Dos” solicited a sense of languid ease and almost complacency mixed with vague annoyance. The music sounded as if there was a thin layer of frosted glass obscuring its true nature. Not quite murky but not quite visceral either. Something about the aural aesthetic reminded me a little of the early 90’s, ala Sebadoh or early Dinosaur Jr. And then the main refrain “chicken come on” in the second song “Chicken” left me with a bad feeling and the beginning of the third song “Never Forget” made me cringe slightly with its strange use of hand drums and a bossa nova(?) beat.
Then something funny happened. I got little bits of the songs stuck in my head; not in that insipid “I want to kill these assholes” kind of way, but rather in an almost wistful, longing sort of way as if I had been away from home for many many years and suddenly I awake in the middle of the night trying to place the faint and eerie music that is coming from somewhere outside my window.
I listened to the EP a couple days later and to my surprise found that the songs had taken seed in my psyche in a way that began to bear strange and delicious tiny fruit. I found the dueling guitar hooks moving, the vocal melodies and harmonies deliciously catchy and even some of the lyrics poignant. I even found the strange beat at the beginning of “Never Forget” to be charming, bold and catchy.
On the surface there’s nothing mind-blowing about this EP. It is an indie rock record with nice mid-fi pop dressings, some Elliott Smith-esque vocal stylings (vocalist and songwriter Johnny Major can definitely sing and to be fair, he sounds more like Johnny Major than anyone else) and some Built To Spill reminiscent guitar work. But there is something infectious and haunting about it as well and if you are paying attention you will find that it is also very well crafted and even unique in its particular approach. My favorite tunes are “Colony’s Dead” and “Pretty Pretty Princess.” It seems to be the sort of recording that requires some time to work its magic and those are usually the best; initial wow-factor is typically a red herring. I have a feeling I will be coming back to this EP. Thumbs up.
Check out “Dos” for yourself. You can download it for free here: