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(Ltd Edition Cassette)
If you turn your eyes to gaze even momentarily at the current state of our shared human environment, you’ll be forgiven for thinking it may be an unusual time to spend much time in consideration of “victory.” The forces that seek to stall progress and the forces that seek to pollute progress are intertwined, the path to progress choked, gasping for the breath of new ideas. It’s against this backdrop that we reconnect with the The Myrrors, and their beautiful, bewildering new album, “Hasta La Victoria.
Of course, you’ll also be forgiven if you’ve not been privy to pay attention to the path of progress pursued by these largely indefinable desert defenders—though it’s not that The Myrrors haven’t given listeners plenty of chances to reflect. “Hasta La Victoria” comes just one year after the band’s previous “Entranced Earth,” and serves as more than an enthralling companion piece. In scope and sound, this group of Arizona arhats has developed their own, altered and all-encompassing definition of “victory.”
On “Hasta La Victoria,” The Myrrors win the fight by largely giving up, so to speak. By almost completely abandoning traditional electric guitar sounds, the band lives to fight another day and sounds all the stronger for it. Minimalist influences perfume the surroundings of the album as a whole, transforming the proceedings into a transformative platter in which sun-soaked dervishes ascend and descend, informed by interlocking influences, and instruments as well. “Hasta La Victoria,” in name and deed, embraces and is endowed by the potency of this unbounded approach, merging the sounds of Arizonan and Afghani heads into a single, satisfying whole.
And yet, not a moment of the album’s thirty-seven minutes ever feels anything short of natural, or even remotely rushed. Indeed, in the best possible way, “Hasta La Victoria” sounds like The Myrrors couldn’t be doing anything else—and by continuing to forge their own path, it’s further proof that the band has never done anything less. Perhaps it’s not the word “victory” in the album’s title that should focus our attention; perhaps it’s the persistent, propulsive “until.”
“Organ Mantra” opens the album in an appropriately mystical manner, ten minutes of The Myrrors shining at their brightest, somehow exhibiting the grace and power of a freely flowing river. “Somos La Resistencia” follows at a fraction of the length, but with no reduction in impact, its declaration that “we are the lost that want truth” understandable in any language. “Tea House Music” and “El Aleph” follow, sister-songs in solidarity with the solidly transcendental terrain traveled on the album. The title track, at nearly fifteen minutes in length, ends the album on a high note – if by “high” you’re referring to the daily waking consciousness of, say, Neem Karoli Baba. Because it brings the album to a close, it’s unfair to call the song the album’s “centerpiece.” But it certainly stands as the album’s emotional and musical core – unrefined, unrestrained and unforgettable.
Throughout “Hasta La Victoria,” the band sounds utterly propelled by an invisible force, by the indelible impression that their actions – as a band, as artists, as people. Be here now or be here later, but there’s little doubt that The Myrrors will be continuing to pursue the path at whatever time you arrive. - Ryan Muldoon