Argentine, as you might have guessed, is not Argentine. That would be like a band calling themselves “American.” That, however, is exactly what Argentine is — a New York band consisting of guitar, bass, drums, viola and occasionally Wurlitzer and glockenspiel. And, as you may have also guessed, Argentine doesn’t sound Argentinian. There are no Latin rhythms to speak of. No tangos. And furthermore, the songs are in English. So those expecting romantic, Hispanic tunes should probably stop reading this review right now. However, the rest of you should continue on, as Argentine is, most likely, a band that you will take interest in and, soon enough, become infatuated with.
At the time of the recording of In Other Fictions, Argentine was a trio, but since then, the band has expanded to a five-piece, allowing their musical breadth to swell and expand into a denser live band, though on record, Argentine sounds like a much bigger band than they were at the time. The album begins simply enough, with washes of guitar and Ian Carpenter’s subdued vocals. Soon enough, “The World Gets Younger” erupts into something much bigger. And this is something that Argentine does well. Throughout the album, songs range from whisper-soft to sonically huge, as the band flexes their musical dynamics.
But there’s more to the band than what you notice on the surface. It’s the details that get you hooked. The organ on “Fresh Inventions” turns an otherwise straightforward indie pop song into something more soulful and nearly psychedelic. The violin on “Ender/Beginner” adds a sense of melancholy to the track, as it does in the title track, a graceful, lovely song that carries the listener into a gentle dream world. Carpenter’s voice pairs perfectly with the music, as his voice is calm and soothing, but somewhat distant, reflecting the overall mood of the album.
In the middle of the winter, as we are now, Argentine’s In Other Fictions makes for lovely, dreamy listening. Melancholy and distant as the songs are, there’s a vein of familiarity and comfort deep within Argentine’s sound, creating a delicate balance between the two. It makes you wonder why no high profile indie label has picked them up yet. In any case, music of this quality surely has a record deal waiting for it somewhere down the line.
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Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.