Hailing from sunny Mexico City, Hello Seahorse! (exclamation point always included) reminds us how globalized this world has become.
Images of mariachi bands and suave Spanish guitars have been replaced by a new generation of young musicians with more international influences. Hello Seahorse! formally got together in 2005 after an ad for a female vocalist on MySpace was fulfilled by Lo Blondo (née Denise Gutierrez). The four-piece didn’t have any plans, they were just going to play music because they loved it.
It wasn’t until their second EP in 2007 that they gained attention with their song, “Won’t Say Anything” which was sung in English and so quintessentially indie pop that two years later, the EP was released in the US under Magic Marker records. Since then, the band has been nominated for several Latin Grammy Awards and had played several gigs in the US with a spot in Coachella last spring.
Their latest album, Arunima, was released this fall. It’s a fitting name since Arunima is a Sanskrit word that refers to the first ray of sunlight at dawn and aptly describes the feel of this album.
As a trained opera singer, Lo Blondo’s strong vocals reinforce the dreamy synth-poppiness of the album. This is particularly evident in “Al Fuego” (“Fire”) — though quite long at nearly 13 minutes long — Lo Blondo’s soothing, soaring voice does some eerily beautiful vocalizations accompanied by deep keyboards and pulsating percussions. Admittedly, this track is best saved when you’re about to go to sleep; though relaxing, definitely avoid listening to it while studying for finals because you will most likely to nap.
If you’re looking for something more upbeat and stimulating, look to “No Te Vayas Al Bosque” (“Don’t Go To the Forest”). It almost feels as if it belongs in an old spy thriller with the opening filled with a steady piano line and whistling. At the end of the intro, a surge of brass instruments signals Lo Blondo’s sultry voice.
Hello Seahorse! certainly broke down a lot of stereotypes I had about Spanish-language music. While many Spanish-speaking artists seem more dance-floor oriented, Hello Seahorse! is a fresh reminder that foreign music is just as multifaceted as music in the US.