Not surprisingly, [Argentine progressive rock label] Viajero-Inmovil isn’t just about reissues: Omnia follows up their Y2K debut on Warner Music Argentina, Ultimo Generador De Equilibrio, with a change of labels and their brand new offering, Hormonal: a slick collection of five songs and five instrumentals which adhere to the symph-rock formula with the intensity of Krazy Glue. Nicolás Nuñez’s voice, which wears a heavy coat—as in drenched—of reverb throughout, has enough of an edge to keep things interesting through the 1-2-3 step formula. Just for the record: non-English vocals, for those who must know!
Yes, there are some blazing passages in the opener, “Conoce A Tus Enemigos/Know Your Enemies” (which has a nice intro, to be honest), and yes, keyboardist Pablo Sangineto takes his obligatory synth solo. Everything sounds professional and is wound up tight. Guest Rodrigo Socolsky lays down a soothing flute line on the first instrumental, “Los Primeros Ojos/First Hindsight,” barely more than a somnolent duet between Socolsky & Sangineto which gathers energy toward its close. The title track finds Sangineto back in fourth gear with a rapid-fire synth-organ lead and drummer Federico Fernández pounding away like Aynsley Dunbar’s bastard child. Heads sync up between Sangineto, bassist Hernán Naccarato and guitarist Sebastián Perossa, but the piano soloing halfway through sounds oddly misplaced. Perossa’s power chords fill that space soon enough, though his soloing style is more about chords than individual notes—not as savory, perhaps, but different. Sangineto’s faux-organ riffing reprises before the cutoff. “Mi Hermano, Yo Mismo/Likewise, My Brother” files off any jagged edges left over in order to suit up as a ballad (a listenable one, at that). Then it becomes apparent: how overtly 80s the production sounds! The 80s are here, in an album recorded between November of 2002 and February of 2003. The snare sound is perfect for A Flock Of Seagulls and OMD.
The chunky bass riff, ostinato synth line, and robotic (programmed?) percussion of “40 Horas” (Instrumental #2) brings to mind a hybrid of Genesis’ “2nd Home By The Sea” and early-80s Tangerine Dream, circa White Eagle. “40 Horas” refreshes by leaving the Hormonal-ly beaten path with its unforced development. Best Track Of The Album. A direct segue finds us viewing life through “Los Peores Ojos/The Worst Eyes,” a shorter atmospheric instrumental catering to the soft contours of Sangineto’s digital synth treatments and Perossa’s processed guitar. Nuñez resumes his position on “Tren En Movimiento/Moving Train”; arena rock in feel and texture, its three minutes and twenty-one seconds aren’t over soon enough. ”Ocaso” is Instrumental #4, another extended bridge of wordless vox and suspended piano notes treading water in a pool of reverb.
Naccarato’s bass-plucking on “El Tunel/The Tunnel” is also refreshing—a pity it isn't featured more prominently, as he, Fernández, and Perossa actually hold things down as a trio for the first minute. Aside from a nice OrfordBanks analog lead, Sangineto is content to play stacks of large chords on synthstrings. Nuñez’s vocal line sounds much more inspired than on the last two tunes he sang; his one-octave voice fits like a jigsaw puzzle piece. Hormonal is sealed with the woefully tacked-on outro, “Ciego En El Alma/Soul Blind”—eighty-eight seconds of Korg (or Roland) strings and news broadcast samples. Less time was spent mastering it in the studio—not to mention the toss of an opportunity to end on a strong note. Somehow, the track “40 Horas” offers glimmers of hope. Stay tuned.