Aaron Mireles of Sub-Sahara at Infatuation release party | Photo: Juan R Govea
Review of Sub-Sahara Infatuation EP for En La Calle Magazine
By: Forrest Cook
Dallas Post-punk band Sub-Sahara released a new EP earlier this month entitled Infatuation. It’s out now on digital and cassette formats from Dreamy Life Records. The band is gearing up for a fourteen-day tour supporting the release and is due back in Dallas to perform at the DOMAs on December 1st, where they have been nominated in the Best Live Act category, championing a resurgence in gothic subculture.
The EP’s first track “Ulna” opens with a phasing bass line. It’s a meaningless title unless you’re studying anatomy, but I guess we all study anatomy in some sense. Alex Mireles’s tribal bass kick chimes in with hypnotic rhythm, as Elvis Martinez’s creepy, despairing refrain builds a careful foreboding of the eminent asphyxiation of self to come. “I am a parasite / I am a leach / I am the one the makes God sick.” The words spew forth from bassist/lead singer Aaron Mireles, who has opened the doors on his own reflections and nihilistic turmoil to communicate an indifference that indirectly mirrors our society’s own inept longing for atonement.
“Estoy cansado y no se nada,” Mireles sings tragically on their first song in Spanish, “Siberia”. This song echoes Sub-Sahara’s Cure influences sparklingly.
A much more modern sound emerges with the next two tracks on the album “Pacemaker” and “Halal”. Both invoke similar elemental themes of longing and despair (“a crippling fear of the unknown”), but strike resemblances more readily with bands like Interpol and The Killers.
Close your eyes and imagine the bodies swaying in time on the dancefloor in the dark. Imagine the dark, as once again playing the hypnotists, the brooding repetition of Mireles’s bass on “Halal” is crafted to lead each would-be soothsayer astray on a path into a transient state or nightmare, as his brother’s saucy drumming alternates from subtle high-hat splashes into a powerful crash of emotion. “Halal” is the ultimate trip song. “There is no hope for you here / I’ve been there too”. Back up vocals chime in to reassert the knowledge so the listener knows it’s true that doom or catharsis is inevitable.
“Abacaxi” starts off in much the same way as the rest of the tracks on the album, but incorporates a very pleasant surprise right around the minute-and-a-half mark. The overdriven guitars accomplish the ever-sought-after tone of The Beatles’ “Revolution 1”. There are no vocals on this one, but still it’s easily apparent that this track is anodyne, and the imagined sway becomes much more frenzied.
This leads us to the last, most honest song on the record, which also happens to be my personal favorite. This is a track where the band’s true chemistry can be heard. Bass and guitar intermingle and meld seamlessly in solid instrumental runs. Once again the listener is faced with the daunting thought of self-reflection and introspection. “Pharmacy” is a wonderful song advertising a bitter prescription.
Infatuation is a wonderful EP. It is existential, even in apology, but perhaps that sums up our attraction to the post-punk genre in the first place.
Link to Sub-Sahara’s Infatuation EP https://sub-sahara.bandcamp.com/