Latin music is often stereotyped as being hip-shaking salsa grooves or heel-stomping merengue, until Chile’s RH+ came into the music scene, captivating listeners with dreamy, yet wildly hypnotic tunes. Like Blonde Redhead did for New York City and Goldfrapp for the UK, RH+ takes heart pumping electronica from the clubs, feel-good pop, and ethereal indie melodies, fusing them to create delicate, whimsical songs. RH+’s U.S. debut album Quintana Roo is smooth like a slice of flan, with an added sweetness that both rockers and clubbers would want to sink their teeth into.
“In Santiago, we are lucky to have a very close relationship with both nature and the city at the same time and that inspires our songwriting a lot,” says RH+ drummer/programmer Pedro Comparini. “Our imaginations, our dreams, and mixing contrasting ideas are essential elements to our musical muse.” Since their birth in 2002, RH+ has been enchanting Chile and with one listen of Quintana Roo, any listener would also be hooked for life. “What About” immediately transports audiences to a fantasy world with dueling male and female vocals, both soft as silk, but powerful enough to cause goose bumps with a haunting, lingering chorus. It’s astonishing to discover that fellow Chilean DJ Bitman, best known for spinning Latin Hip-Hop and reggaeton, served as producer for RH+ in Quintana Roo, but his street samplings don’t hide behind synthesizers or guitars. He successfully takes “El Elena,” an eerie, chilling track, and somehow gives it a downtempo, lounge vibe that emphasizes lead singer Xinema “Negra” Munoz’s airy, feminine voice, combining it with sudden record scratching. Yet, this is only the beginning of a strange, yet wonderfully enticing musical journey where RH+ grabs their listeners and takes them to a world where anything goes.
As a Latino band, RH+ manages to break boundaries, keeping everyone guessing with surprising, spectacular results. “Curb” jumps out of nowhere as an insanely catchy dance hit with a hint of a disco spirit. One minute RH+ reveals retro beats, then in “Rockinsol,” aggressive guitars battle Munoz’s desperate pleads of being heard. Quintana Roo creates unforgettable scenes that range from steamy samba on the streets of Chile, to grinding up against a stranger in Manhattan’s Webster Hall. Few bands can master the art of encapsulating multi-genres in a single album, yet RH+ does exactly this with ease.
RH+ may have been originally known as “Rock Hudson” to their Chilean fans, but with the recent release of Quintana Roo, the world will recognize them as genius. They may sound like an indie-electronic band from Europe, but RH+ is as colorful and diverse as the many Latinos that will immediately embrace them.
For more info on RH+, check out their Myspace profile here.