Soaring but playful multi-part harmonies. Lot’s of percussion but nary a simple rock backbeat in sight. Handclaps and tambo’ abound! All fronted by a beautifully tattooed lead. No hate intended, but yes, the first single from Y La Bamba‘s new record Court the Storm certainly does fall in line with some of Portland’s latest pop ambassadors (see Lost Lander, Typhoon, agesandages, Loch Lomond) and so is about what we’d expect in 2012, but not disappointingly so. “Squawk” is a distinguished example of the accomplished near yodel of singer Luz Elena Mendoza and a layered approach that’s as much an amalgam of a variety of world music traditions as it might be an expression of any passing Portland trends.
Teasing with a sort of a jaunty intro that sounds vaguely traditional (American traditional that is), the song quickly departs to into something else entirely as Mendoza’s rich voice flits about over quick picking, expressing vocal styles that might stem from wide array of traditions. African? Welsch? I can’t tell, but her short vocal notes gives life to the quick movements of the mentioned hummingbird excitedly floating from flower to flower in spring. Put a bird on it? Whatever. It is currently extending my perceptions of pop.
Someone just told me they saw tulips blooming in their neighbors yard yesterday, and I did see a hummingbird out and about. Hopefully that badger can suck it, and this will be the song (and record) to usher us into an early spring.
Pre-order Court The Storm from PDX DIY powerhouse Tender Loving Empire and you big hitters can get your record in a “laser-engraved wooden enclosure with a hand-silkscreened inner-jacket.” Enticement!