Monterrey’s Los Mundos are dropping their fourth studio album in five years, and their seventh overall release. It might not seem like much on paper, but when you factor in how many records some of their contemporaries have released in the same period (hint: not as many), it’s very impressive. The duo, comprised of Luis Ángel Martínez and Alejandro “Chivo” Elizondo, have slowly built one of Mexico’s most consistent discographies.
It’s also some of the best music to come out of the northern region of the country. Hearing their sound evolve since their inception in 2011 is refreshing; their brilliant eponymous debut wears its shoegaze influences on its sleeve, and over the years they’ve tried to find a sound of their own, a journey they followed with the EP Mi Propia Banda Quiero Ver, hero worship on Regalando Todo (on which they cover songs by Spacemen 3 and The Jesus and Mary Chain, among others), and culminating with the star-studded Retroterapia. 2014 saw the beginning of a new era for the duo with the release of Dios Es Fuzz, which featured a sound less indebted to the spawn of My Bloody Valentine, instead digging into the roots of psychedelic rock. It was followed by last year’s No Hay Quien Se Salve, a record that furthered their love for vintage riff-heavy rock odes to distortion.
It remains to be seen if Las Montañas, their new effort, will act as the closing of a trilogy for the band, since it mines similar territory as Dios Es Fuzz and No Hay Quien Se Salve. Las Montañas expresses their love for guitars, whether they are playing lead-footed riffs or wallowing in a feedback swamp, all the while showcasing some of their most intricate and powerful songwriting to date.
Las Montañas is not a concept album as far as I can tell, but it’s presented as journey, with many songs bleeding into the next through sonic explorations. At the same time, this is one of the most eclectic releases in Mundos’ discography, where Sabbath riffs collide with weird experiments and into alternative rock territory.
The record opens and closes with its lengthiest pieces, “El Color Que Cayó Del Espacio” and “Espacio Tiempo,” presenting a synergy similar to that of Black Sabbath’s classic Vol. 4 album, with heaviness to match. From there, all bets are off: the screeching punk of “Re-Animador” connects both their love for classic rock and guitar-damaged indie punk. There’s the one-two punch of “Lemmy,” a distorted little bass ditty in honor of the late Motörhead leader. “Lemmy” leads into “Hoyo Negro” (previously released on a compilation put together by their label Abstrakt Muzik) that explores the influence of Kilmister’s other bands (like Hawkwind), without aping their space rock sound. “Los Gatos De Ulthar” could soundtrack any bar fight in the universe, and the guitar outro to “Lo Que Trae La Luna” recalls Sonic Youth at their noisiest.
Las Montañas is an exhilarating record that showcases Los Mundos as one of the most inspiring bands in Mexico nowadays. Though they deserve a bigger audience than lifers and psych fans (although appearances at festivals like Levitation don’t hurt), they seem content with their journey. We’re all the better for it, and having material of this quality coming our way steadily and surely is a welcome invitation to Luis’ and Chivo’s ride.