Even though the Mexican border-town of Tijuana has a stigmatized history it has managed to produce many vibrant and unique artists. None are quite like Mint Field.
Comprised of 21-year-olds Estrella Sanchez and Amor Amezcua, Mint Field's sound is organic, spacious, and inhabited by specters that lurk behind rhythms, where Estrella's angelic voice evokes a supernatural world of beauty and melancholy.
Their new record, Pasar De Las Luces, first for LA-based Innovative Leisure Records, is "a compilation of our lives from two years ago to now" says the band. Since recording an initial EP in 2015 in their hometown of Tijuana, Mint Field have played Coachella, SXSW and have extensively toured the US and Mexico. In the summer of 2017 the band traveled to Detroit to record with producer Christopher Koltay. "We had a much clearer idea of what we wanted and we had the tools to make it. When we recorded [our debut EP] Primeras Salidas, it was a homemade album and we didn't know what we were doing." This time, they managed to channel their inspirations and influences to transmit sentiments of profound sorrow, nostalgia and immaculate beauty...revisiting sounds from the past to make them contemporary.
Mint Field's vision comes alive on Pasar De Las Luces 's 13 immaculate tracks that nod to everything from dream pop to fuzz-saturated shoegaze. Album opener "El Parque Parecía No Tener Fin," is a melodic song with haunting melodic lines where we can appreciate their post-punk tendencies. "Ciudad Satélite" has woven harmonies and crescendos that detonate into a flurry of feelings anchored by a dramatic bassline. "Quiero Otoño De Nuevo" goes full krautrock and is like an introverted, reflective and delicate Neu!. "Cambios Del Pasar" borrows the distorted and imperfect guitar sounds of '90s indie bands like Yo La Tengo. "Nada Es Estático y Evoluciona" develops from minimalism into a silent scream and "Club De Chicas" is probably the peppiest song of the bunch. The whole record has a unique sound that makes it stand apart from projects by contemporaries.
While deceptively young themselves, Sanchez and Amezcua not only show the potential of influencing even younger fans, but of also defining themselves as stand alone voices in emotional music. Although they have a foot in the past, they never let themselves get caught by nostalgia; they reinterpret the best of what the past has to offer in order to better express their feeling in the present. It's a timeless quality that will surely take them far into the future.
Photo: María Fernanda Molins