June 30, 2005

Various Artists "Acuarela Discos 3"

For the past decade, Spanish label Acuarela has slowly and quietly built an excellent reputation as arbiters of melancholy music. They've helped deliver some of the best independent music of Spain to the rest of the world, and in turn they've helped introduce many great American acts to a wider European audience as well. The respect Acuarela deserves cannot be denied, for they have earned a name that is synonymous with quality.

Acuarela Songs, Volume 3 is the latest installment of the label's themed compilation. Every two years or so, the label releases a multi-disc set of its favorite artists. Though the artists come from all around the world, they do have one thing in common: each song must contain some sort of reference to the subject of watercolors. It's a lovely concept, and it's one that actually works quite well. Acuarela Songs 3's artist selection is superb, the running order is inspired, and the record feels like a cloudy, overcast day.

As with the previous volumes, Acuarela Songs 3 is overflowing with beauty , which makes it hard to say which songs are 'best,' but several are worth noting. These highlights include Loud's dance-driven "Grandes Ocasiones," the psych-rock bliss-out of Maquiladora's "Untitled (Watercolor #2)" and Early Day Miners' "T.C. Steele," the driving rock of The Impossible Shapes' "Song For Acuarela," the heartbroken country of Lowlights' "Everything to Me" and Tex La Homa's "When I Come Around" and the melancholy folk of The Decemberists' "The King of Spain - V. Oak St. Bldg" and Rivulets' "Waited For You."

If you're a fan of melancholy music or just need something to cool you down during these hot summer days, Acuarela Songs 3 has plenty to offer. A not-surprisingly excellent compilation from a quite distinctive label that deserves your attention.

--Joseph Kyle

Label Website: http://www.acuareladiscos.com

No comments: