The Marías-Superclean Vol. II
Released September 28, 2018
Los Angeles group The Marías’ new EP Superclean, Vol. II is a solid, laid-back twenty minutes of jazz and soul-pop. It’s enjoyable, but nothing too special, making decent late-night driving music. María’s (just María, no last name) vocals are what makes the group stand out from other melancholy/contemplative pop bands. María sings in both Spanish and English, effortlessly switching between the two throughout songs.
1. Opener “Ruthless” has a synth arpeggio that conjures images of a busy city at night. The intro leads into an upbeat pop song with dreamy vocals, a bouncy drum beat, and joyous horns. It’s a “floating on clouds” type of pop song, full of wonder and optimism.
2. “Cariño” is a standout track. The lo-fi intro explodes into lush instrumentation with acoustic guitar strumming, gentle percussion, and ascending bass lines that work together perfectly, like gears in a watch. The song is fast-paced, but much more mellow than preceding song “Ruthless”.
“Ruthless” sounds like you are gearing up to go on an adventure while “Cariño” has the feeling of being satisfied at the moment. María’s blend of Spanish and English lyrics flows so well it’s sometimes not noticeable what language she’s speaking. It is a strong contender for best track on the EP.
3. “ABQ” “ABQ” is a downtempo, mellow dream pop track. María’s swirling vocals and the standing-still instrumentation makes you feel like the rush of wonder and excitement from the first two songs has come to a halt, like sitting on a leather couch in a dark nightclub, sitting and observing. It’s not exactly melancholy, it’s more of a comedown.
4. “Loverboy” is a pleasant interlude track. It sounds a bit like a lounge singer sang over an Adult Swim bump. It’s only about a minute long, so it’s not one that really sticks with you.
5. “Over the Moon” has a mellow synth and steady percussion that lulls you in. María’s vocals in the intro sound distant and a little obscured as if listening to an old record or home movie. The song moves the EP into a more melancholic territory. Lyrically, it’s a love song, but the music and vocals give it a dejected, tired feeling, as if getting off the leather couch and leaving the nightclub.
6. Closing song “Clueless” is the funkiest song on the album. It has an infectious bass line and up-tempo vocal delivery from María, which is a change-up from the more drawn-out vocal delivery on the rest of the EP. Along with “Ruthless”, this is probably the most modern sounding song on the album. While “Ruthless” feels more like finding the wonder in what the night/future may bring, “Clueless” more like walking back from the nightclub a little sad, but also motivated to search for better things, which is seen in the line, “You’re telling me ‘I can’t take this shit no more baby’/How does it feel every time I let you down?” My pick for best track on the EP.
Superclean, Vol. II is consistently solid with some great mixed in that warrants multiple listens. The EP isn’t terribly memorable outside of standout tracks like “Cariño” and “Clueless”, but there are no bad songs on it. The vocals are great and the music has it’s high moments. At only twenty minutes long, there’s no reason to not give it a listen. Recommended for those who like lounge singers and relaxing synth-pop music.