Cajas de alas – Review by David Marx

Diego Rey
Cajas De Alas

There’s a certain warmth, clarity and charm in the music of Diego Rey – sought after qualities which are more often than not, severely lacking in many of the Spaniard’s fellow compadres.

Originally from Barcelona, but now living in Berlin (where I have had the pleasure of enjoying a number of his shows), Rey is the sort of performer who beguiles his audience with equal measures of deft sincerity, impish joviality and musical persuasion. And Cajas de Alas, his self-produced third album, captures all the musical dexterity of his live performance, plus a whole lot more besides.

From the opening moment of the album’s debut ‘Una Manera de Sentir,’ one is immediately enlightened to that of a considered percussion, along an all round, soaring sense of the song actually taking flight. Well at least in such a way that doesn’t always take place during live performance. This may in part, be due to the approach of the acoustic guitar replete with a bridge that triggers a descending sense of musical melancholy. A quality, wherein one intuitively knows something is about to happen which it invariably does. By the song’s concluding fade-out, the listener is breezily lifted and ready for more.

Suffice to say, such is amply provided by way of the introduction of the album’s title track ‘Cajas de Alas.’ Shimmering, seguidilla like guitar chords, surely precedes one of the album’s strongest melodies, whereby a pinpointing interaction between guitar and voice takes place; that apart from anything else, accentuates the singer/songwriter’s adroit knack of story telling.

As even if one doesn’t fully understand Spanish, one is compelled to listen further. Listen closer. Listen with a profound sense of underlying yearning.

The Beatlesesque chord at the end of ‘Mujer de Primavera’ provides for a satisfying, non-complicit segue into ‘Como Tu Y Yo,’ which, if memory serves, is nearly always performed live. By way of the song’s lush treatment, wherein the cleverly constructed application of voice and drums provides for an almost filmic quality, one cannot help but wonder what would happen if even more instruments were involved. Such is the underlying sense of curious potential.

With a subliminal Sting sensibility (yes, he formerly of The Police), the delicacy of both ‘Cuando se Mira Atras’ and ‘Ahora,’ allude to Rey’s provision of worldly travel, while ‘Con La Guitarra A Cuestas’ is a slight return to the seriousness of recording and technique. While said song would perhaps benefit from being a little faster, the introduction of bongos on the third verse, along with the drum pattern throughout, ensures an intrinsically quirky, if not inviting change to the proceedings.

Might it be said that Diego Rey is a particularly strong rhythm guitar player. A facet, which when allotted alongside ye olde dictum that less is indeed more, works wonders; particularly on such tracks as (in my opinion) the album’s two strongest, ‘Los Dias Que Pasan’ and ‘Sentada en la Plaza.’ By way of summery invitation and an altogether more intricate guitar revelation, these two pieces of work provide something of a window to the album as a whole.

An album that for the uninitiated, bequeaths many a Catalan feel-good factor of melancholic mystery and regal romance.

Posted by David Marx in Album Reviews

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