It seems we’re witnessing the birth of a movement, with the likes of Cuco, Omar Apollo, Tatiana Hazel, and Ambar Lucid making waves with their dreamy, sad lo-fi recordings. If this is true, and we are at the dawn of the soul wave era, the sound needs someone to push its limits to show how it can turn into something more encompassing, exciting and influential in the long run. With the release of Foam, Divino Niño may have raised up to the challenge.
The Chicago quartet makes charismatic music that comes from their unique band chemistry. In short, guitarist Camilo Medina and bassist Javier Forero met in Bogotá, Colombia when they were children. Both migrated separately to the U.S. with their families, settling in Miami where both reconnected and started playing music. Moving to Chicago, Divino Niño was founded with the addition of Guillermo Rodríguez (guitar) and Pierce Codina (drums), gradually finding a community that nurtured their creativity; Foam features a strong link to their artistic community by including members of bands like Knox Fortune, Twin Peaks, and Mild High Club in production roles and/or guest spots. The results exude good vibes and boundary-pushing sounds.
Much of Foam blossoms from easy-going vamps featuring unsettling synths that somehow fit perfectly into the theme of each song, like some forgotten ‘80s FM radio coming out of a state-of-the-art hi-fi stereo that is slowly rotting in acid. Foam’s standouts like the Saturday afternoon LSD seduction of “Quiero,” the swirling “Coca-Cola,” the undeniable classiness of “María,” the funk pop-romping title track, find themselves within a combination of classic – there are shades of ‘60s AM pop and Prince all over the record– and contemporary indie rock and hip-hop influences. The whole album builds an expanding world of sex, psychedelia, love, and youth that warps into a lovely mood cocoon of warmth and excitement.
Foam finds danger in its chillwave haze without resorting to adding filler to a full-length album. It’s a worthy addition to a nascent movement that needs to push the limits while the rules are still being written.
Listen to Foam, out on Winspear, here: