Album Review: Fémina – Perlas & Conchas [Fémina Music; April 2019]  

An Argentine group who stood out from their peers with their proud feminist stance, Fémina consists of Clara Trucco, Sofia Trucco (both of whom are sisters) and Clara Miglioli. The latter two are the founding members, who originally channelled their American hip-hop influences, but once Clara Trucco joined, they began to include more soul and Latin American folk into their sound. Their third album release, Perlas & Conchas out on 4th April, is a collaboration with British DJ and musician Quantic, which sees the group follow this path further.

The title refers to the creation of pearls (perlas) from the dirt inside shells (conchas), a metaphor for how one can gain positives from dark situations, that acts as the album’s theme. A prominent feature throughout the album is Fémina’s soulful harmonies. They act as a soft yet strong tide, pulling along the listener across a stream of songs, ensuring the broad influences brought in by Quantic don’t seem so foreign. These harmonies help the opening track “Brillando” shimmer away any ill-feeling from within almost immediately.

Afterwards, starting with sharp hi-hats and tings reminiscent of late 90’s Darkchild and She’kspere productions a la Destiny’s Child, second track “Perlas” quickly develops a Latin folktronic mood with a beat that makes you want to skip and sway. Only “Plumas” in the second half of the album can compete, with a more frantic attitude, backed by the exciting interaction of its drum machine with the guitar.

After Fémina received more UK exposure thanks to being played on Iggy Pop’s BBC 6 Music radio show, the rock legend now features on this album in “Resist”. Pop’s deep voice rasps through the production like a wise man wandering through the desert, as he can be heard saying, “A long, long way”.

“Treparme” is the definitive track, truly encapsulating the album’s theme. Built around an eighties-inspired synth that swings through delicate acoustic notes, intrusive effects (such as what sounds like a guzzling engine) flitter past as obstacles against a climb upwards to a tranquil endpoint. This leads nicely into “Somos Lo Que Somos” as the album’s final flame that slowly extinguishes. Although Perlas & Conchas loses momentum slightly in its second half, this is nevertheless a very strong showing from a group who definitely have so much more to offer.

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