In Review: Mint Field - 'Contingencia'
Mexico is not the country one typically associates with shoegaze. Despite a throbbing music scene, a live tradition and recent swell of such party-scene harbingers as N.A.A.F.I (aka No Ambition and Fuck-all Interest), the ethereality and ghostly-grit of shoegaze or its dream-pop cousin seemed to have all but bypassed the country completely.
Well, Tijuana-born, CDMX-based band, Mint Field, are seeing to that, and have been for some time now. Led by Estrella del Sol Sánchez, the group seem to have made it their mission to add Mexico’s capital to the same orthodox catalogue as Berlin, Manchester or Glasgow when it comes to droning guitar-music. The new single, ‘Contingencia’ (meaning ‘contingency’) advances this ambitious pursuit.
Mint Field started off, according to a 2018 interview with Brightonsfinest, playing Sonic Youth covers from the shelter of a convenient garage. Pretty soon after that they’d released their debut album Pasar De Las Luces (Go From The Lights) to rapturous critical acclaim. Loud and Quiet gave it a much sought-after “8/10” and it was described as “Evidence of shoegaze’s surprisingly vigorous afterlife” by none other than the Financial Times. Two years later and Mint Field are moving forward.
Though the signature sound remains (the haunted vocals, the benumbed distortions of the lead guitar), ‘Contingencia’ does sound different from previous releases. Firstly, it’s faster – there’s an urgency to the rhythm that’s almost more reminiscent of Krautrock than dream-pop. Also, it may be the band's move from the blonde sands of Playas de Tijuana to a 21 million person-strong metropolitan area, but the whole thing feels citified; a greater reflection of grey than green in abstract terms.
However, ‘Contingencia’ still finds a way to retain coherence as a ‘Mint Field single’, and that’s in the cadence of Sánchez’s vocal performance. Her approach to singing is entrancing to say the least. The lyrics, all in Spanish, waver, tender and fragile, over the lead guitar and rhythm section. The sound of her voice is strained and, somehow, supple also. Vocal talents like that keeps the band exciting.
Mint Field have straddled an unlikely counterculture in their ascendance over the past few years, we should all be excited for whatever comes next.
Mint Field's forthcoming album Sentimiento Mundial will be release 25th September on Felte Records.