Meridian Brothers at Bananada Festival
The one-man family band, from the experimental musical director and adventurous guitarist Eblis Álvarez, touches down from Bogota.
Onstage, Meridian Brothers scale up to a five-person rocking squad fit to hotwire Bananada Festival. With every last limb busy on an array of synths, brass, percussion, electronics and peculiar props, it’s a rich and strange, BPM-surfing dancefloor concoction all garnished by Eblis Álvarez’s slithery, effects-laden croon and freewheeling six-string deviations. Far from a mere 21st-century update of the melodies and rhythms of cumbia, porro and salsa, Meridian Brothers ingeniously do things the other way ‘round. Álvarez’s own idiosyncratic soundpool (honed across years of cassette-release activity on the independent Columbian scene) forms the template for a style undoubtedly steeped in the potent mores of those traditional musics, but it also ventures deep down into the same weirdo-rock cavities as latter-day Deerhoof, vintage film soundtracks, the dub-bass echo chamber and the laced late-sixties sonic crop harvested by Silver Apples or Presidents of the USA. It’s all brewed up and boiled down to perfection in an overcrowded Bogota bedroom.