Two years have passed since Mexico City’s Espejo Convexo – formerly known as Convex Mirror – released their first self-titled EP. It’s been a busy time for them both as a band and as individuals; guitarist and producer Daniel Quintero has been performing as A-rp, a dark techno act that has garnered attention from the electronic scene and landed him a slot at Boiler Room earlier this year. Azul Carazo, who handles guitar and vocals, has been focusing on songwriting and honing her skills as a performer. The strength of the band comes from their ability to compromise as collaborators, as well as their mutual love for darkwave, dream pop, and shoegaze. It’s fairly common for bands to play shows or to release rough material to have something to promote and build from there, but Espejo Convexo shows us that they do best when they’re allowed to grow at their own pace, even if it means being radio silent for a bit.
After a recent series of live shows in Mexico and their appearance on the Burger World: Mexico compilation, it’s no surprise that their new album Ruina Circular is arriving today. To promote the album, they’ve jumped on a West Coast U.S. tour supporting Cruz de Navajas (a project that Daniel plays guitar in) beginning July 31.
If Espejo Convexo’s first self-titled EP gave us a brief glimpse into the duo’s potential for powerful songwriting, Ruina Circular no doubt confirms it. Being a duo has its strengths and weaknesses, but the pair has managed to present an album full of nostalgia, dark moods, and driving rhythms.
The project opens with “Color del Cielo,” a track comprised of a heavy programmed rhythm section. It lays the foundation for both Daniel’s angular post-punk guitar arrangements and Azul’s celestial vocals. This arrangement is consistent throughout the album; it works for the duo as it lends them expansiveness, but at times it limits the dynamism of the songs, considering the fact that they use a laptop to run the drums and bass track. Fortunately, songs like “Relación” break up any monotony by picking up the pace. Along with the chorus-drenched guitar arrangements, “Relación” enables the listener to remain fully immersed in that gloomy head space.
Stylistically, Espejo Convexo evokes the layered nostalgia of early 80s dark pop (think The Cure, Chameleons, Bauhaus) – but the duo refuses to be just another copycat darkwave act. With both Daniel and Azul on vocal duties, the pair isn’t limited by just one focal point or identity. In fact, the tracks seem personal and cathartic, and at the same time, both members carry the weight of each composition. Lyrically, themes of lament, loss, and introspection are the focus here, and they serve as an expressive instrument that complements the musical arrangements nicely. Ruina Circular is the result of a band on a mission to prioritize their music over anything else, and it shows. The project is well worth your time.