Mueran Humanos
Mueran Humanos
Blind Prophet

The sultry, southern hemisphere romanticism of Argentina and the mechanical European minimalism of Germany is not a pairing one would suggest as “two great tastes that go great together,” yet Mueran Humanos find a way to make it work, bridging the disparate gap between the thousands of miles that separate their native Buenos Aires and their adopted base of Berlin. The duo of Tom and Carmen seems to thrive on this juxtaposition. There’s an inherent sexual vibe running through their blood and their performance and an ingrained detachment in the electronic beats and blunt synths they use to compose their debut album. The tension doesn’t exist between man and woman, but between man and machine, and eventually all of those tight knots and lock-step rhythms melt into each other, making for quite a unique—and entirely foreign—experience.

It shouldn’t work: the pieces don’t fit and the first instance of this alienation comes in Tom and Carmen singing in their native Spanish. Their name roughly translates to “die humans,” but it’s hard to imagine such a nihilistic motif for a band that coos like a magnetic tango in the night. Though the dusty thump of the buzzing bass and the systematic drums that center most of the songs here might suggest black leather and sunglasses at night, there’s a sensuality to the vocals that also suggests a bleeding heart marked by motley streaks of red and neon across their faces. This is not a death march, but as you read through the translated lyrics, the duo reveals a mood even more self-deprecating and macabre than can be gleaned by the music. This is dark by design, but a line like “When you leave, when our bodies part. When they decay, when you leave,” kind of reads like a teenage goth’s slambook. Honestly, it’s best to stay away from trying to interpret the meaning and instead get lost in the cyclical grooves that stem from an almost telepathic connection between the couple.

“Horas Tristes” is eight full minutes of slow burning, syrup-shifting, brick-by-brick minimalism. It’s unnoticeable as each new layer is added—a bit of cathedral organ pulsing in the back, a two-note guitar line fluctuating in and out of the foreground, ethereal voices joining Carmen in her sermon—until the finale of fuzz and choral revelations. It’s the ideal entry point to Mueran Humanos. “Horas Tristes” is a song built with half assembly-line robotics, half fleshy yearning and emotional heft. The debut as a whole is a deft balance of these two sides, similar to everything from the trip-hop of Portishead to the cold, new-wave misery of Suicide and early Human League. For each moment of brooding psych noise and extended measures, as on “Leones en China,” there’s a claustrophobic dancefloor smugness to a song like “Cosmeticos Para Christo,” proving the underground clubs of Berlin have rubbed them the right way.
Kevin J. Elliott