A familiar artifact
With a 15 year-old musical career and 4 albums released with his former band The Mistake, Daniel Álvarez releases his first EP as Best Niagara. Compared to the 2012 singles ‘Ciudades inglesas’ and ‘Cabezas disecadas’, ‘Las malas artes’ is a bold step forward. Álvarez has gone solo alright, but he’s not alone: A. López on drums (Conjunto Podenco, Daylight in Red, Holy Disgrace) and José Fajardo on bass (Fajardo, Conjunto Podenco) team up with the musician from Tenerife. ‘Las malas artes’ is a solid step forward in Álvarez’s career. All the songs in this EP focus on a subject many songwriters have had to deal with at some point in their lives: breaking up.
The first song begins with a description of the situation the musician is facing -Va siendo hora de sentarse/ a depurar las malas artes (…). Sides premonitory, this track anticipates the most explicit picture. It will be by ‘El muro de agua’ when insularity will be exposed as the unsolvable obstacle, the physical distance which could turn into a mental break -Con el agua hicieron el muro que hoy nos separa (…).
The narrative use of first person singular and the musician’s reliance on acoustic instruments are two basic characteristics of the Best Niagara experience, as if the band wishes to create an environment where very little can distract the listener from the message conveyed in the lyrics. And yet, the listener is allowed to witness the harmonious interplay of melodies that pepper the message, and subtle metric irregularities that unfold and twist every verse in highly idiosyncratic ways. ‘Las malas artes’ is a familiar artifact. It’s a peephole through which we’re invited to glimpse someone’s own intimacy, -La pompa de jabón, lenta, que tocó el suelo y estalló (…).