A couple of years ago Luis Mojica came out with Anaesthesia. Anaesthesia was a solid album. As much as I enjoyed it I have to say his latest Wholesome is on another level. Apparently Mojica spent four years in the mountains before recording Wholesome. I’m not sure the backstory behind this decision but some of the story may be in the lyrics. For example on the title track he sings, “The mountains of America are my home! Just leave me and my mountains alone! A deep-seeded mountain spirit, Sent forth to me a message, A whisper from the river, Amongst the sidewalk glamor clamor.”
Wholesome is an instrumentally rich and diverse album from the orchestral strings to the piano, saxophone, cello, oboe, flute and more. You can tell right away this was recorded professionally as the proof is in the pudding. It just sounds great period. As much as I enjoyed the instrumental work across this entire album what really got me were the use of vocals. The harmonies on this album are exceptional. From the opera style to the beat boxing. I haven't been this impressed this much with vocal harmonies since I heard the Fleet Foxes.
Wholesome is an exceptional album for a number of reasons. The songwriting structure deviates from typical pop cliches but never sounds disorganized. Take for instance “Lady Bug.” Although the song is only around four minutes it’s sprawling. The vocal harmonies and strings combine towards the beginning of the song which eventually simmer down for the lead vocals and beatboxing. There is a build up around the three-minute mark that is pretty epic but never feels contrived or cringe worthy.
“Humming” was a track that stuck out to me right away. It has a jazzy beatnik vibe that along the way mutates into a very engaging groove with some very inventive textures ”Oh, The Beauty!” is upbeat and jovial in its own unique way while “Black Magick” is an emotionally resonant song with a powerful vocal performance. Mojica closes with “Does Not” which benefits from atmospheric experimentation and some of the most notable harmonies.
Wholesome is one of the best albums to come through this website. I think one thing that Mojica is doing that is separating him from a lot of his peers is the originality with the music. There were a couple of times I noticed how the combination of sounds created unique textures and tones. That on top of the songwriting is a winning combination. This is an exceptional album and I hope Mojica gets recognized for it. Spread this one around.
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