Chicano Batman was the latest group to appear on the new NPR Tiny Desk (Home) Concert series. The alternative-latino quartet performed a selection of songs from its most recent album, Invisible People, released in May.
The band is no stranger to the Bob Boilen concert series, as Chicano Batman appeared on the program back in April, 2017. Since then, the band has released a new album that has marked a clear progression in its iconic alternative/international sound as the group embraces more pop elements.
Leading off with “I Know It”, Chicano Batman begins the concert from separate quarantines, as is the new normal in the Tiny Desk (Home) series. Even in the Brady Bunch-style of performing in boxes, Chicano is still able to reach that slick aura that perfectly compliments its sound. Next comes the laid-back “Moment of Joy”, where vocalist and keyboardist Bardo Martinez is able to dig into that Latino crooner persona that makes Chicano Batman a live force, even from behind a computer screen.
From there, the band moves into the perpetually upbeat “Color My Life”, one of the prime examples from Invisible People of the band’s newfound ability to craft rock-solid pop songs. Yet “Color My Life” also shows just how tight and connected the rhythm section of the band is, as bassist Eduardo Arenas and drummer Gabriel Villa put together the bed of a backbeat for guitarist Carlos Arévalo to lay down a wah-soaked rhythm of his own. Finally, the session closes out with “Polymetronomic Harmony” which sees the band dig into the alternative side of its sound with a descending guitar riff from Arévalo that sounds straight out of the 1990s. Felix Contreras, founder of NPR’s Alt.Latino program, said of the performance,
The group has been an Alt.Latino favorite, almost from the beginning, and I’ve always enjoyed listening to how creatively they’ve crafted their musical identity with layers of sound, from vintage organs to the most nuanced of funk grooves. So, watching them in their individual Hollywood-Squares-type boxes is the visual equivalent to how I listen to them.
Watch Chicano Batman perform for the new at home version of NPR’s Tiny Desk concert series.
Chicano Batman — NPR Tiny Desk (Home) Concert
[Video: NPR Music]