Nearly fifty-eight years ago, on 5th September 1957, Jack Kerouac published his seminal novel, On The Road. Since then, On The Road has influenced several generations. That’s just as true today.

Nico Saba and Bruno Bellatin of Kanaku y El Tigre can relate to Jack Kerouac. They describe themselves as “Peruvian indie folk beatniks.” Kanaku y El Tigre released their debut album Caracoles back in 2010. It was released to commercial success and critical acclaim. So the modern day beatniks began work on their sophomore album. 

With ten tracks recorded at Kanaku y El Tigre’s Lima studio, their sophomore album was almost ready. However, they lacked one thing…a title. So, Nico Saba and Bruno Bellatin returned to the beatnik’s bible, On The Road. They decided to choose a quote from Jack Kerouac’s landmark novel.

There was plenty of choice. Nico and Bruno had 320 pages to choose from. Eventually, the  quote they decided on was “Quema Quema Quema,” which when translated from Spanish to English, meant “burn burn burn.” Now, that Kanaku y El Tigre had a title the final piece in this musical jigsaw was in place. 

Quema Quema Quema, Kanaku y El Tigre much anticipated, sophomore album will be released by Tiger’s Milk on 15th June. It’s the result of two long years work. During that period, Kanaku y El Tigre have been locked away in their Lima studio, honing the ten tracks on Quema Quema Quema. They showcase Kanaku y El Tigre fusion electronica, indie folk and psychedelia,on the long-awaited followup to Caracoles. As the man said, “it’s been a long time coming.”

Five years, but hey, who’s counting. It was back in 2010, that Kanaku y El Tigre released their debut album Caracoles. However, the two members of Kanaku y El Tigre, Nico Saba and Bruno Bellatin have been collaborating for much longer.

They first met in the nineties, back home in Lima. Nico and Bruno were teenagers, and members of a punk band. This was the genesis of a lifelong friendship, and musical partnership.

Fast forward to 2015, and Nico and Bruno have spent the last three decades travelling the world and making music.Previously, Nico and Bruno have spent time living in Britain and America. They’ve spent long periods in both countries. However, when it comes to recording their albums, they return to where it all began, Lima.

That’s where Nico and Bruno recorded their debut album Caracoles. It was released in 2010, and caught the attention of critics and record buyers. Caracoles had been inspired by American folk music. When it was released, it was to critical acclaim and commercial success. 

Caracoles lead single gave Kanaku y El Tigre a hit single. When the sophomore single was released, Kanaku y El Tigre hit pay dirt. It featured on two soundtracks.Then as 2010 drew to a close, Kanaku y El Tigre’s name loomed large on Peru’s album of the year lists. However, since then, word has spread about Kanaku y El Tigre.

Now, Kanaku y El Tigre are attracting a following in Britain, Europe and America. Their sophomore album Quema Quema Quema has the potential to be a game-changer, and introduce the music of Kanaku y El Tigre to a much wider audience. That’s because is Quema Quema Quema no ordinary album.

Mind you, Kanaku y El Tigre are no ordinary band. They’re musical alchemists. Over Quema Quema Quema’s ten tracks, Kanaku y El Tigre combine a captivating fusion of indie folk, electronica and psychedelia. That’s not all. Seamlessly, lead vocalists flits between Spanish and English. Meanwhile, a myriad of effects, Hawaiian slide guitar and ethereal harmonies play a walk on part on the sound and success of Quema Quema Quema. It’s ten tracks of mesmeric and melodic music.

Any one of the 95,000 people who have heard Si Te Mueres Mañana, the lead single from Quema Quema Quema will be forced to agree. It’s the perfect showcase for Kanaku y El Tigre and their sophomore album Quema Quema Quema, which as you’ll soon realise, is a musical tour de force.

Opening Quema Quema Quema, is the title-track. It’s one of two tracks where Bruno delivers the lyrics in English. That’s still to come. Musical alchemists Kanaku y El Tigre, work their musical magic. Two notes are played on a keyboard. They’re twisted and transformed. Then Bruno’s vocal enters. He’s accompanied by the rhythm section, a shimmering guitar, keyboards and punchy harmonies. Soon, a joyous, hook heavy anthem is unfolding. It’s a call to dance, that’s impossible to ignore. 

Drums provide the heartbeat to Nunca Me Perdi. Meanwhile,Bruno’s vocal is thoughtful and reflective. Harmonies sweep in and out. Meanwhile, washes of keyboards and the rhythm section are augmented by various effects. They transform the arrangement, adding a psychedelic sheen. Later, a crystalline guitar glistens; as wistful harmonies play yin to Bruno’s yang on this beautiful, melancholy sounding song.

Pulpos has a much more understated sound. Just bongos play while Nico delivers a vocal that veers between heartfelt, tender and sultry. Soon, her vocal has a late-night, jazzy sound. Then a curveball is bowled. The arrangement explodes and becomes a wall of sound. Layers of sounds become one. Guitars bristle,quiver and threaten to feedback. They don’t. Instead, they combine with percussion and jittery harmonies. As the arrangement dissipates, a wistful, jazzy horn sounds and Hawaiian slide guitar lingers. From there, the arrangement builds, growing in power. Elements of avant-garde, industrial, psychedelia and rock and play their part in a glorious wall of sound. It’s cocoons Nico’s vocal, which is a mixture of emotion and beauty.

Washes of guitar are unleashed as Quien Se Queda Quien Se Va unfolds. They’re reminiscent of the soundtrack to a Spaghetti Western. Soon, percussion and drums combine with Bruno’s impassioned, pleading vocal. Cooing harmonies interject and bursts of guitar hang trail of into the distance. An atmospheric, heartfelt and beautiful song is unfolding. Crucial to the song’s success are the vocal, harmonies and a series of guitar masterclasses.

The synths that open Si Te Mueres Mañana have an eighties sound. Bruno’s vocal is deliberate and urgent. He’s accompanied by drums, percussion, a chirping guitar and joyous harmonies. Before long, it’s time to break out the effects and the musical alchemists get to work. Briefly, they toy with the arrangement. It’s highly effective. Especially, when it takes on a dubby sound. This has the effect of punctuating the arrangement, and letting the listener know when another burst of joyous, feel good music are about emerge.

Just a lone acoustic guitar opens Bubucelas. That’s until effects are added. So is a plink plonk piano. It works though. Especially as Bruno delivers a reflective vocal. In the background a walking bass, drums and shimmering guitars are joined by harmonies. Together, they transform the track, as it takes on a feel good sound. However, when the arrangement is stripped bare  it’s a very different song. This has the effect of connecting with the listener in a different way. Joyous becomes thoughtful. That’s until Beach Boys’ harmonies are added. They’re a masterstroke on this emotional roller coaster.

Big, bold, chords are played on the piano as 10 Años begins. A guitar is strummed and the drums play. They drop out as Bruno delivers another impassioned vocal. Meanwhile, the arrangement literally strolls along. Washes of guitar, piano, percussion and drums play their part. Bruno ad-libs,as he lays bare his soul. At just the right time, a harmonica and ethereal harmonies are dropped in. Another masterstroke is a searing, rocky guitar. It’s the perfect way to close 10 Años.

On Hacerte Venir, Nico takes charge of the vocal. Bruno sings below her.They’re accompanied by an understated arrangement. Just an acoustic guitar and bass combine. That’s all that’s needed as Nico and Bruno duet. As the song unfolds, other instruments make a brief appearance. They take care not overpower the tender, wistful vocals, as we hear another side to Kanaku y El Tigre.

Burn Burn Burn is the second song sung in English. “Nah nah nah” harmonies are joined by a bass synth, shimmering guitar and Nico’s vocal. The arrangement is jittery, as elements of electronica, indie rock and psychedelia combine. Instruments and flit in and out, chiming and chirping. Filters mask a guitar as it cuts through the arrangement. It accompanies Bruno and Nico’s vocals on this hands-in-the-air anthem.

Fittingly, Fin, a ballad closes Quema Quema Quema. The tempo drops, and the rhythm section and keyboards set the scene for Bruno’s vocal. It veers between pensive, rueful and hopeful. Harmonies sweep in, as sci-fi synths and hypnotic drums combine. Later, washes of glistening guitars are added. They’re the perfect accompaniment to Bruno’s vocal. It literally bristles with emotion and beauty, on this hook-laden track. 

Five long years after the release of their breakthrough, debut album Caracoles, “Peruvian indie folk beatniks,” Kanaku y El Tigre, return with the much anticipated followup, Quema Quema Quema. It features ten tracks of genre-melting, hook heavy anthems from Kanaku y El Tigre. This makes Quema Quema Quema well worth the wait.

It’s taken Nico Saba and Bruno Bellatin two years to record Quema Quema Quema. That’s not surprising. Kanaku y El Tigre are perfectionists. They were determined to hone and polish each of the ten tracks. To do this, they headed home to Lima, to the same studio they recorded Caracoles.

When they entered the studio two years ago, Kanaku y El Tigre’s starting point was their trademark fusion of indie folk, electronica and psychedelia. To that, they added elements of avant-garde, indie rock, jazz and rock. That’s not forgetting a generous helping of poppy hooks. Recording of the ten tracks took time. Kanaku y El Tigre were determined to record a worthy successor to Caracoles.

Caracoles had been released to widespread critical acclaim and commercial success in 2010. This saw Kanaku y El Tigre hailed as one of Peruvian music’s rising stars. However, in the intervening years, word was spreading about Kanaku y El Tigre. They had built up a fan base in America, Britain and Europe. While many groups would’ve been tempted to rush out an album, this wasn’t the way Kanaku y El Tigre worked.

They were going to release Quema Quema Quema until they were ready. They owed it to themselves and their fans. So, for two years Kanaku y El Tigre laboured in the studio. Eventually, Quema Quema Quema  which will be released on Tiger’s Milk on 15th June 2015, was complete. It’s been well worth the wait. 

Five years after the release of Kanaku y El Tigre have grown and matured as a group. That’s apparent when you listen to Quema Quema Quema. With its mixture of glorious, hook heavy anthems and beautiful ballads,Quema Quema Quema is a worthy successor to Caracoles. The songs on Quema Quema Quema are variously beautiful, ethereal, irresistible, joyous and melodic.  Quema Quema Quema is also full of poppy hooks, as modern day beatniks Kanaku y El Tigre, take you on a musical roller coaster that’s guaranteed to toy with your emotions.




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