Review: Dengue Dengue Dengue! – Siete Raíces [Enchufada, 24th June 2016]

Siete Raíces is the name of a traditional Peruvian liquor brewed from several jungle roots, plants and tree barks, which is said to have mystical and aphrodisiac properties. A suitable title and an explicit declaration of intent for Peruvian duo Dengue Dengue Dengue‘s second full-length album which, like the beverage, is the result of a diverse range of sonic ingredients.

The group’s first LP in four years and its first on Portuguese label Enchufada, Siete Raìces follows the 2014 EP Serpiente Dorada and widely celebrated 2012 debut album La Alianza Profana, released on Peruvian label Auxiliar. The distinctive style of producers, djs and graphic designers Felipe Salmon and Rafael Pereira is easily recognisable: Peruvian and cumbia sounds are fused with electronic dubstep, techno and dancehall. However, this time the sound is darker, ghostlier, more mystical and haunting, as evoked perfectly in the video for leading single “Guarida.”

“Guarida” doesn’t just visualise the ideas behind the sounds of the album in typical Dengue Dengue Dengue fashion, who are audio visual artists above all and see music and images as interpenetrating and complementary. The song also marks a new stage for the duo, for it is their first sung piece (by Sara Van) and the calmest track. Moreover, it is the only outstanding track among the nine which make up the album.

Siete Raíces is a well-made organic album from one of the most interesting South American acts on the scene, but it lacks variety, resulting in a collection of songs that sound similar to each other. However, groovy tracks such as “Murdah” and “Amazonia”, featuring Enchufada star Branko and Toy Selectah, are geared up to be great club tunes.