You know that haunting feeling we’ve all been carrying around in our chests—not just in 2020, but over the last few years? With injustice, socio-political strife, and environmental catastrophes becoming an increasingly normal part of our lives, so grows the stress on our collective mental health. This on-the-brink disenchantment and unshakable anxiety are the complex catalysts behind Vaya Futuro‘s brand new album El Peso Del Mundo, a tumultuous journey down the emotional spectrum filled with rage, grief, regret, and few but extremely bright glimmers of hope.
The fourth studio album from the cerebral Tijuana natives reaffirms their status as one of Mexico’s most sonically fascinating bands by delivering a fresh new chapter in a saga that has taken them through shoegaze, indie rock, ambient, and now post-rock. Within an already impressive catalogue, El Peso Del Mundo might be Vaya Futuro’s most technically ingenious work to date, taking nearly three years to complete and featuring breathtaking instrumental melanges of rousing piano, asymmetrical percussion, unsettling string arrangements, and bleeding-edge digital production.
El Peso Del Mundo opens with the a capella drama of “El Abuelo,” the tale of an elder passing down wisdom from a bygone age in which capitalism hadn’t yet ravaged the environment and all of its wonders. The theme of ecological cataclysm continues into the dreamlike title track, where nature seems to fight back against modernity as giant trees begin sprouting around the world, crashing through pavement, and reclaiming a planet once covered in lush green. This sense of environmental calamity isn’t just a talking point for Vaya Futuro, but a symptom of a world in crisis that’s rotting on multiple ends.
The utterly devastating “Talión,” which takes its name from the biblical Law of Talion (a.k.a. “an eye for an eye”), exposes the deep-seated rage and trauma at the heart of the album. As singer Luis Aguilar calls for ropes around the necks of kidnappers and pedophiles, we begin to discover his qualms are not just philosophical, but personal as well. “Cenizas / Cenizas / No dejen ni sus cenizas,” he mumbles gutturally, plunging the listener into the record’s darkest depths. “Talión” is flanked by gut-punching standouts “Luciferina” and “((0)),” where Aguilar diagnoses the world as sick, fantasizes about leaving it all behind, and vows to protect his loved ones at all costs.
While El Peso Del Mundo is undoubtedly the band’s most emotionally charged album, they also leave room for agnostic hope. Keeping with the ecological theme of the first few tracks, the sweeping “Florecer” signals rebirth, hinting at newly achieved catharsis before leading into the tranquil euphoria of the closer “Sosiego.” It’s a rollercoaster ride of emotions guided by Aguilar’s especially stunning songwriting and vocals, as well as cinematic string compositions from Arturo Vázquez-Vela and Marco Martínez. Vaya Futuro has also shaken up its lineup, these days consisting only of Aguilar, Miguel Ahuage, and Luis Ros, and taking on production duties all on their own. The result is a powerful and cohesive album where a band angry and saddened by the state of the world can cope and offer solace through their art. They’re not alone, and hopefully after listening to this album, neither are you.
El Peso Del Mundo is out now via Devil in the Woods.