[Holodeck; 2015]

Styles: synth pop, cold wave
Others: Goodbye, Mozart’s Sister, Marie Davidson

Listening to any one of these tracks on repeat for 30 minutes would probably have the same effect as listening to MENTIRAS in its entirety. That sounds like a criticism, but it mostly isn’t. In BOAN, José Cota makes minimal, patterned dance-events, most of which are even simpler and more two-dimensional than his synth project SSLEEPERHOLD, though there remain kitschy echoes of the cold wave aesthetic executed so well throughout the latter’s ruleth. Mariana Saldaña’s vocals contribute something special and necessary to BOAN, and, mostly thanks to her, it’s more apparent than ever that Cota is actually having fun doing this.

In many ways, this is an unambitious debut, but endearingly so. Saldaña’s lyrics are repetitive and mostly empty, giving one the sense that Cota’s instrumentals are meant as containers for an aesthetic. With that said, some of what I wrote about labelmate Marie Davidson’s recent LP, Un Autre Voyage, also applies here; BOAN seem to be all about drowning themselves out with the immediacy of tone, opting for pure atmosphere above any deeper form of complexity. There’s also something to be said about meat-fisted simplicity, which, especially in the case of the 11-minute “BOAN ACID,” lends itself to a special kind of disorientation.

To Cota and Saldaña’s credit, this act makes a lot more sense live, and especially if everyone is already pretty drunk. When I saw them, all of these tracks (yes, even “BOAN ACID”) seemed much longer and somehow even simpler, but the element of fun was more immediate as I watched the two collaborators enjoy their own music. If I don’t listen to MENTIRAS again, I’ll at least remember how catchy “BABYLON” was the first time I heard it, and, in the spirit of enjoyment, I’ll check out whatever they put out next. Maybe they just wanted to release a record so they could go on tour, or maybe they’re busy working on new songs, or maybe both — in any case, a debut with potential is, in a way, more exciting than one that wows.

Links: BOAN - Holodeck

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