Hailing from La Patagonia, Argentina, The Otherness are aptly named. Why so? In a reversal of the British invasion tradition, where bands such as the Rolling Stones and the Beatles enlightened North America on the bluesy US roots of Rock n Roll, The Otherness toured tirelessly in the UK two years ago, bringing their own homespun ‘other’ brand of British and European rock music back to its source with a clear message.
In the seven years that they have played together, they have honed a very clear and proficient style of short, sweet and punchy tracks that usually don’t exceed three minutes.
A healthy dose of early Rock n Roll, a dash of doo-wop, and a garnish of punk
All styles that are experienced best live. So with the double single release of ‘Give That Face Back to the Dog’/ ‘Quarter to Nine’ and ‘The Roundabout’/ ‘You Can Turn Me On’, the question is posed; how well have they captured their live energy in a studio?
For starters, the musicianship simply shines through
The recordings are as tight as a knot instrumentally, and the mix is well balanced, which is no mean feat even for a style of music that isn’t so complex. The vocal harmonies and interplay between the two singing brothers Martin (guitar) and Gonzalo (bass) are also well recorded and have a gloss to them, especially on tracks like ‘The Roundabout’ and the standout ‘Quarter to Nine’. Thematically both singles have a strange conflict between starry eyed romance and in your face confrontation and lust. The former is the case with ‘The Roundabout’ and ‘Quarter to Nine’, the latter with ‘Give That Face Back to the Dog’ and ‘You Can Turn Me On’.
You spin me right round
‘The Roundabout’, as the title suggests, is about the cyclical nature of relationships and life generally, with the innocent and romantic conclusion that “you are the only one”. It’s also got an especially catchy chorus with a stutter on the ‘round-abo-about’. ‘You Can Turn Me On’, meanwhile is self descriptive, with a Latino groove during its chorus and the repeatedly sung need for ‘sexual healing’. It’s the other side of the coin when it comes to love and sex, the rasher side of the conflict between needing love and harbouring lustful desires.
Vintage Jukebox Classic
The other single ‘Give That Face Back to the Dog’/ ‘Quarter to Nine’ has a similar contrast dynamically and thematically, with the opening track confronting the listener to be themselves, remove their masks, and “give that face back to the dog”. ‘Quarter to Nine’, on the other hand is a truly lovely, swaying piece of music that could pass for a vintage jukebox classic. It’s the standout track and definitely worth a listen.
Photo copyright PH Monserrat Marín