Spanish group Uppercut carves out an interesting balance with Crujida. The album fluctuates largely between two vastly different influences: the heavy, measured crunch of stoner rock, and the sort of lazy-feeling riffs typical of early math rock. Think Pelican meets Don Caballero. It was not uncommon in the course of this release that I found myself jamming along to a tightly constructed, yet relaxed, slightly distorted riff on repeat, only to have the vibe utterly smashed into by heavy distortion and wide open cymbal play.
As the album opens up, these two influences seem very strictly divided. Most notably on the second track, ‘El Cuerno’, in which both styles quite literally take turns working a kind of verse-chorus structure. As it moves forward though, things get less immiscible. Heavy use of repetition throughout the album gives it a very chilled-out vibe; long passages of slightly varying riffs almost call up twangs of post-rock sensibility, if not for the fuzzy tone and occasional syncopation and coordinated, jittery stops.
Uppercut does not tread familiar territory here. The album feels at once relaxed and urgent, rigid and loose, tight and jamworthy. They’ve essentially married the killer, guttural riffs of heavy ambient rock to the mathy sensibilities of syncopated timing and progressive structure and mixed in just the right amount of delicate guitar work and Spanish vibe, and done so with such grace that it almost never crossed my mind that what I was hearing shouldn’t work. And yet, as I reached the pinnacle of the closing track, ‘Tornadorama’ and it’s honest, heartfelt riffs, I’d be damned if I hadn’t become a believer.
Post rock, stoner, math rock, slow groove, distortion, sludge