In the six years following the release of their breakthrough 2013 debut album En Son de Paz, Argentine duo Frikstailers have been busy. Aside from taking their technicolor party sounds across the world in their signature wigs-and-glasses costumes, Rafael Caivano and Lisandro Sona released their notable club-ready Crop Circles EP in 2014 and created the side project Klik & Frik, through which they explored their introspective musical identities. But most importantly, they worked on Extrasolar, their long-awaited sophomore album – and Nacional Records debut.
Through their body of work, Frikstailers showcase their intergalactic fantasies. They’re aliens from a sabrosura-filled galaxy who visit planet Earth to experiment by blending synthetic sounds with rhythms derived from earthling traditions. Extrasolar hints at interplanetary exploration with its title, and musically, it delivers.
The album swells with Frikstailers’ signature retro-futuristic synth textures, and an undeniable need for making bodies move by any means necessary. But their own experiences (like Caivano’s relocation to Portugal from Mexico City), also led them to incorporate unexplored rhythms into their material. That’s how Lisbon street culture permeated Frikstailers’ music, as first seen on their single “Afrotrip,” where the kuduro-like beat was spiced up with Brazilian batucada.
Another unexpected turn in Extrasolar is “Brinca,” made with the help of Ecuadorian artist and EVHA member Mateo Kingman. It’s an odd number with pop ambitions, capriciously switching between EDM-like buildups and moments of serenity. Kingman adapts accordingly, going from rapid-fire bars to a tender croon over indigenous pan flute samples.
Frikstailers also never cease to be inspired by the sounds of cumbia from their natal Argentina, with which they helped build ZZK’s reputation as the go-to label for what was once known as digital cumbia. This is evident on songs like the arpeggiator-heavy “Cosmic Address” and the driving “Persecuta.” But it’s on “El Mito,” their collaboration with Nacional Records labelmates Aterciopelados, where they really make it pop – with singer Andrea Echeverri delivering a poignant tale of a female patron saint who protects women from the wrongdoings of abusers.
“Ever since our first records, we always [included] a song that hits harder on the heart than on the hips,” Frikstailers wrote on a Facebook post in reference to their album-closer “Last Chance,” featuring Marrón. Even with its pounding club kicks, the song feels light and moving, and it comes as a welcome retreat in this dance-heavy collection.
With Extrasolar, Caivano and Sona add another chapter to their ongoing sci-fi tale. It rests comfortably in their oeuvre, but adds a bigger story, taking the listener to new places in just over 40 minutes.
Extrasolar is out now on Nacional Records.