Mint Field – Sentimiento Mundial

Following lineup changes and moving base from Tijuana to Mexico City, Mint Field’s sophomore LP Sentimiento Mundial builds itself in a mature manner upon the psychedelic exploration of debut LP Mientras Esperas, expanding to elements of shoegaze, krautrock and even bits of jazz-fusion. Recorded in London with producer/Ulrika Spacek member Syd Kemp and released on LA label Felte Records, Sentimiento Mundial is a record filled with both emotion and immaculate production.

At heart, this LP is a modern-day shoegaze record, throwing it back to the walls of sound that Kevin Shields would regularly deploy, and in the process regularly throwing the listener down into a bleak fuzzy pit where the only light is the voice of vocalist/guitarist Estrella del Sol Sanchez, singing in her native Spanish.

Duo del Sol Sanchez and bassist Sebastian Neyra, with the added collaboration of drummer Callum Brown (also of Ulrika Spacek), have also increased their avant-garde use of complex instrumentation, adding violin and saxophone. Something that a wave of newer alternative acts like Sorry and Cate Le Bon have also been experimenting with. The new instrumentation can be heard on the majority of tracks but has the rare gift of adding to the soundscapes that Sanchez is creating rather than being sole focus.

While every track has its own bleak appeal, track two, ‘Natural’, had a significant impact on my mind and my mood. Mysterious dream-like vocals about the ‘fluidity’ of language accompanied to a backbeat of gritty distortion, gentle sax and a tight hazing drumbeat, ‘Natural’ has an emotional self-awareness to it that many UK and US bands struggle to find. There’s almost a novelty to the way it jumps around from being a stable pop song, to evoking emotion in the eye of the storm simply with the use of a fuzz pedal.

It’s often hard to distinguish whether this is a record to be sad to, or to jump around to. While the dirty fuzz of the rhythm section and the dream like state of the vocals should in theory be contradictory, it just happens to work, albeit bringing a sense of uncertainty to an otherwise spectacular record.

If shoegaze has ever been your thing, or you’re looking to get into a bit more of the avant-garde, then Sentimiento Mundial is a modern shoegaze record that shouldn’t be slept on and should be shown a lot of love during a time when artists are struggling more than ever.

Tom Mangham