He’s been in the one to watch file for a while, and I really loved 2011’s Claroscuro – something about listening to Alberto Montero takes me back to first discovering Rodriguez and Nick Drake and Love; those forgotten/underrated gems. They’re all everywhere now – via so many reissue campaigns and movie soundtracks and documentaries. Alberto Montero isn’t some long lost name from the past by the way, this is a contemporary artist. But there’s something in his sound, a kind of psychedelic version of folk-rock, with traces of bossa and cumbia grooves too, little Latin flourishes of jazz/ish horns and big, wide strums – several rays of sunshine caught and held there in the spaces.
Puerto Principe is Montero’s latest and again mixes gentle Spanish-language odes (Noche de verano) with pastoral psych-rock (the title track). There’s a warmth to this album (Para nada) and then when he does play the introspective card (Hoy ayer) you have something not too dissimilar to Beck’s moments where he dips his head, lifts his collar, trudges home, his heart in his hands…
I like being freed up from trying to understand the words too – I enjoy music that can be bundled up as singer/songwriter fare (which this most certainly can) but is not delivered using the English language. I hear the singing rather than trying to understand the words. Montero’s music has something charming even in the briefest songs (Cancion del sol de mediodia), mere snippets at times, hints and haunts of the broader canvas, of what is going on here as a life’s work.
A classy set of songs this. Loads of ideas here, lovely singing too. And gorgeous arrangements.