Dapuntobeat’s debut US release, IO, is out today on Nacional Records. The Mexico City based group put out a video a few days ago for the lead single, “Necesito Cambiar” (or “Need To Change”), and it’s a bit of a departure for the group.
The important words here are “slick” and “beautiful”. The concept for the video is simple and effective; beautiful people playing beautiful music in a beautiful meadow. It’s enjoyable, but there’s not much more to be said about it other than the fact that it seems to accurately represent the change in sound that the band apparently needed. Dapuntobeat’s previous work has been a touch more electro and certainly less poppy than “Necesito Cambiar,” but maybe that’s Javiera Mena’s influence. The Chilean songstress guests on this track, and smart money is on the relatively straightforward nature of this song originating with her. This might be a real upgrade for the group. While the frantic shape-shifting production of their older records is filtered out in this offering, it’s replaced with a focused, melodically driven cleanliness. Maybe they’re not as odd-ball as they once were, but their newfound economy of ideas serves them better than the overflowing-with-zany-sounds-and-melodies approach they’ve followed until now.
But what’s a departure in one situation may be a worn groove in another. The soft-focus look and artsy cut-aways of the video read a little like an Urban Outfitters catalogue from 2007. This particular brand of streamlined, shiny electro pop that Dapuntobeat has moved towards sounds a lot like a blend of the debut records from Brazil’s CSS and the American group The Killers. That’s not the worst thing in the world, obviously. Both of those bands put out top-notch first albums and then immediately stopped sounding like the songs that made them famous, so it’s good that someone’s picked up the mantel. But those records did come out in 2005 and 2004, respectively. The saving grace is that “Necesito Cambiar” is a pretty seriously catchy and well produced song, and the contemporary music scene on the whole seems to have firmly set its gaze to the past, so who’s to judge this mildly retro vibe?
IO is out in the US on Nacional Records today.