Whatever the negatives are around social media and the internet, there is no doubt that they also have the power to bring us together… wherever we are in the world. So it is that labels such as Peruvian-based Necio Records would never have come to our attention.

Necio is one of those labels that you come across like a massive strangely lit cavern after a long dark tunnel, with lots of strange yet wonderful things lurking in the corners and shadows… just waiting to be discovered. I would urge anyone to go to the label’s bandcamp page and spend some time there…

I would think that the presence of the internet is also more than partly responsible for Chilean trio Vago Sagrado’s back catalogue too. With two releases on European labels (Vol. I on Adansonia and Vol. II on Clostridium) under their belts, they have returned to South America with this third release… Vol. III of course.

The very name of the band gives you a big clue to their world view, Vago Sagrado (the sacred bum/ tramp) elevating those who we tend to ignore or walk past into the highest level of our society, and you can feel this passion in the intensity of their music… this is very much a trio who mean it!

What I like about Vago Sagrado is the way that you can never quite get a handle on what they are. That it because they mix different elements of music together in an almost alchemical way that creates its own sound… yet renders what you are hearing familiar.

When I first heard the album my first impression was of its dark elements… powerful takes on post-punk and Kraut themes, yet also with space-rock elements that add a level of alienation and need.

‘Centinela’ is a prime example of this with its plaintive lyrics and guitar riff which seems to take you down on a spiral into some sort of abyss. Yet this is off-set by such a ‘Sundown’ which is far more crisp in its delivery and to some extent feels uplifting until the final slow section.

Elsewhere there are tracks such as ‘Listen and Obey’ which have a sort of pop sensibility, in a way that The Cure have a pop sensibility. But while this feels upbeat you sense that there is that dark underbelly not too far away (as I said, like The Cure).

It is, however, the last track on the album that is the true killer. ‘Mekong’ starts with all sorts of influences running around in my head… definitely some Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath in the mix, but also later stuff too… What I particularly like here is how the beginning of the track completely disguises what comes next… it is slow and considered and completely draws you in. Then using some tropes from space rock begins to build the sound up until about the five minute mark when all hell suddenly breaks loose and the band head towards the edge of chaos and just totally fucking let go!

Wow this is one of the best changes of pace that I have heard in a track… its like you are taken out into space, but also some how still within the darkness of your own inner space… one of my tracks of the year and a stunning ending to a complex and satisfying album.

‘Vol. III’ is available from Necio Records here, European shipping is available from Germany.

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Cholo Visceral could perhaps be called the Necio Records house band, given that band member Arturo Quispe also runs the label. This, however, should not make you think that the band are releasing music on there on anything but merit.

I reviewed Cholo Visceral’s second album on here some time ago, and was impressed by the wonderful mix of South American sounds and Western rock ideas. This gives the band’s music a fresh and different sound which I find very appealing.

It is always interesting to hear how a band’s sound translates into the live arena, and whether this can be put across on a record. Well I guess that the first thing to say is that, as I have never seen Cholo Visceral live I don’t really know about the latter point. What I can say, however, is that this live album suggests that this is a band that have a really powerful stage presence which is pretty much blowing me away listening on my stereo… I can only imagine what this would be like in person

Here is a band that go almost stratospheric before bringing things back down in what seems to be an instant. Some of the changes of pace here are brilliant and this is certainly an album that has surprised me by its, well, visceral nature. I am not a massive fan of live albums… but this one has blown me away!

‘Live at Woodstaco 2018’ is available from Necio Records here, European shipping is available from Germany.

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