Considering their dominance on album of the year lists, it’s fair to say that Argentine quintet Él Mató a un Policía Motorizado had an amazing 2017. Indeed, their latest LP, La Síntesis O’Konor, resonated with listeners, thanks to their willingness to expand their already winning combination of heartfelt melodies and experimental/minimalist tendencies, yielding an excellent collection of songs. But they’re not ready to rest on their laurels, with two new tunes to kick off 2018.
One of the tracks is “La Casa Fantasmal,” a hypnotic and ecstatic number threaded in jangly guitars that unfolds in beauty, recorded in January last year. The other is an acoustic version of La Síntesis O’Konor’s first single, “El Tesoro,” recorded at Room 202 of the Majestic Hotel in Cuenca, Ecuador after playing Festival El Descanso. Even though they trade their heavily effected guitars for acoustics, this version is as lush as the original, thanks to the keyboards.
Él Mató’s best songs are deeply romantic, both in the sense of love as a theme, as well as their focus on emotion at all times. The band always finds deep connections, even when they tackle less subjective topics. On both of these songs, physical spaces figure prominently; not only is this version of “El Tesoro” recorded in a hotel room, but “Casa Fantasmal” mentions a house filled with spectral figures.
“If these walls could talk” is a common saying, and Él Mató are trying to figure out the best way to start a conversation with them, either metaphorically or literally by inhabiting a space and playing music. By the sound of their music, they could easily wax romantically about the past with the spirits trapped in a room.