Emerging out of the small Uruguayan city of Canelones, in 2017 a band named Las Cobras released their debut recordings, a nine track LP called Temporal – and instantly became a name on the tongues of those tapped into the trans-Atlantic psychedelic underground. A couple of years on and the duo comprised of Leandro Rebellato and Sofía Aguerre bring you their highly-anticipated sophomore album Selva, and BSM is honoured to bring you the premiere. Translated from the Spanish it means Jungle, and is released tomorrow on Fuzz Club Records.
On their debut Las Cobras magnificently fused together a cocktail of proto-punk and murky shoegaze with traces of afrobeat and Tropicalia, but throughout Selva the band can be found taking all of those elements and cranking them up to 11. Nestled in-between the swirling, ethereal noise of the closing tracks ‘Voices’ and ‘The Color Of Dawn’, there are far darker and distorted moments like ‘Down Low’ with its mechanical drum-machine and gloomy neo-psych guitars, then the menacing ‘Evil In Your Eyes’ which is driven by a nasty fuzzed-out bassline and the dual vocals of Leandro and Sofia – both gravelly and entrancing, respectively.
For all of those more sinister moments, though, that’s not to say the sounds of their native Latin American don’t still course through the record. ‘Lo Hacemos Mal’ and ‘Llamarás Mi Nombre’ are meandering psychedelic jams dripping with the sounds of their homeland. And, charting a similar path to other globally-attuned psych-heads like Khruangbin and Goat, title-track ‘Selva’ – made in collaboration with Gioele Valenti of label-mates JuJu (and previously Lay Llamas) – is a lysergic treat on the senses combining dub-like rhythms, wah-wah guitars and organs that could have plucked off a long-lost Afro- Cuban jazz cut.
After the release of Temporal the pair took some time out of writing and got a live band together and started playing around Uruguay, Chile and Peru. Upon their return they began to work on the LP’s follow up and – partially due to facing a particularly difficult creative block – they decided they were fed up of writing and recording in their room, as was the case the first time around, and would not only find, but build, a new place to create in. “Here in Canelones there are no rehearsal rooms and we really needed a place to make as much noise as possible. Dario, our bassist, works as a builder so he built a place with his own hands.”
With this new space to use as they please, and with a live band in tow who also ended up becoming much involved in the songwriting, the result is something far more multifaceted and spontaneous than their previous work: “We tend to become a slave to thing we’re doing. We get lost in it. We just go wherever the process takes us.” And, doing what they do best, it seems that that process can take you on a journey to anywhere from a Latin American jazz bar to a British club venue circa the era of Spacemen 3 and Primal Scream, or even perhaps a night spent listening to some nihilistic noise at New York City’s notorious CBGB.