When Miranda! appeared in 2001 — as they themselves declare — many things were probably done on instincts. However, history puts forth a new perspective.
Of all their contemporaries — Adicta, Los Látigos, Capri — Miranda! are the only ones that managed to remain relevant and carve themselves a niche in Argentina’s music market. Their efforts helped redeem pop music and absolve those who needed someone to break the mold in the scene the way that Miranda! did.
The group has just released Fuerte, their seventh foray into recording. It is the start of a new era for the group. They’ve signed with Sony Music and rearranged themselves as a duo, with only Ale Sergi and Juliana Gattas remaining from the original lineup.
The overall feeling is that of maturity. Even though elements of their pop heritage still remain (“Amante Amigo,” “Cálido Rojo”) the album showcases a broader palette of sounds: funk and disco (“743,” “Tu Padre,” “Enero”), folk (“Mala Señal,” “En Esta Noche”) and a bit of ambient R&B (“No”).
Clearly, Sergi’s intention was for his work to be more than just a snapshot of the times. “We felt we wanted to quieten down a bit. Actually, drop the bpm, rather than the volume. Safari [their previous work] was exactly the opposite,” he explains. “We worked on it as we could, but we tried making it sound less stringent, but more trippy, subtle. Many say it reminds them of the first record. It wouldn’t have crossed my mind.”
Cachorro Lopez, the group’s recurring producer since 2007’s El Disco de tu Corazón, says: “It was a bit of a tour de force. Ale agreed on turning the group into a duo, which made it more self demanding. In that sense, I believe it is a turning point.”
This new album represents a change in the strategy. To Lopez, who participated more in the writing process on this occasion, the album and the group’s artistic proposal is a triumph, a story of survival in a local music industry heavily hit on many fronts.
The lyrics have some of that too. While Miranda!’s lyrics usually revolve around partying, with a dash of picaresque and a flair for the romantic, this time they sound more mature.
“I started paying more attention to lyrics when we did Safari. I’ve always written them consciously, but this time, for some reason I said to myself, ‘This time I’ll devote myself more to them.’ And this time, doing Fuerte, it was the same way.”
This translates to the album sleeve, which has Sergi’s partner in crime, Juliana Gattas, dressed as the groom, holding Sergi, dressed up in white. Playful, yet sober.
“The sleeve and the concept is certainly provocative and transgressive, but it doesn’t feel kitsch. I’ve seen us overdo it before in terms of looks. This feels like it is equally provocative, but fitting far more discreetly,” Sergi explains.
Gattas adds: “In a way, we’ve changed the spirit of the band, but I wouldn’t go as far as saying we were trying to reach a new level. We got together with Ale to talk about things we hadn’t spoken about before, what to do aesthetically. We thought about it.”
For now, Miranda! soldiers on, their eyes set on what’s to come. “We’ve always tried to follow our instincts. For all that we try and do things, we certainly believe in what we feel will work or not. We know very well that it takes more than luck to make a band grow for sixteen years,” Gattas says.