Imagine falling into a black hole, but as you sink deeper into it, everything turns pink, starts spiraling, and is incredibly groovy. That's essentially the experience you have listening to San Fermin. Their third album only makes that truer than ever, as you'll fall into heavenly oblivion with San Fermin's Belong.
There's something intrinsically unique about every song on this record. Nothing's fully blissful or completely depressed, neither do they find themselves in the perfect equilibrium between the two. Rather, every song has a various mix of both moods. Opening track 'Open' has a generally more enchanting vibe to it, expanding to something brokenly optimistic at the end. Many tracks start in such a small fashion, before ultimately leading up to a massive ending. 'Oceanica' is a perfect example, remaining generally subdued for much of its length before epically spiraling at its end.
The composition of this record is really where it shines. There's a very cinematic and even jazzy approach to a lot of the songs on it, no doubt thanks to founder Ellis Ludwig-Leone. The brass accentuations really play critical roles in tracks like 'No Promises' to help give its funky atmosphere a bit more edge. It's also pivotal in 'Dead' and its big anthemic pop vibe, working wonders with the pounding percussion. There's also the orchestral side to the record, making beautiful moments happen, like in 'Belong.' The two really come together to make a big impact in 'Palisades/Storm.'
There's nowhere this album ever really goes wrong. It doesn't everything it wants to do perfectly. Some songs stand as okay, not being perfect but also not being bad. There are songs like 'Cairo' that brim with such a genuine personality. There's something clever about it, and it's not just the line "three's a crowd and two is in love / but I can't sleep alone." The gentle, plotted out builds are also brilliant and really give the record a great pacing. It's present all the way to the end with 'Happiness Will Ruin This Place' in its gentle intro that build to a bustling end to the record.
San Fermin has one of the best sounds out there in chamber pop and indie. Their sound is like something that you don't hear too often, if at all. You'll fall into heavenly oblivion with San Fermin's Belong and you won't want to stop your free-fall. It's a blissful voyage, and it's forty-five minute run feels all too short.
Favorite Tracks: Oceanica, Belong, Cairo
Least Favorite Track: Perfume
Rating: 83 / 100
Buy or listen to Belong here: