The long awaited debut from Texas-based electronic duo BOAN has finally arrived, at last bringing their unique incarnation of minimalist synth-pop to an eager and international cult following. BOAN consists of José Cota (SSLEEPERHOLD) and Mariana Saldaña (ex – //TENSE//) who, outside of their lauded individual creative efforts, are widely known as two thirds of the now defunct electro-trio Medio Mutante. MM’s critically acclaimed 2008 EP Inestable was released by Cititrax, an imprint of the illustrious Minimal Wave Records, and was the first modern album allowed into the label’s celebrated cannon of classic reissues. On BOAN’s highly anticipated debut LP Mentiras, Cota & Saldaña continue to deconstruct, sharpen, and enhance their idiosyncratic cold wave tradition by using all hardware electronics to sequence and arrange infectious live dance music. Cota’s vivid analog compositions form a solid foundation for Saldaña’s indelible and predominantly Spanish vocals to sink into, reflecting a unique confluence of Texas’ vibrant electronic music scene with its rich and inextricable history of Hispanic culture.
The album’s title, Mentiras (translated as “lies”), accurately sets the tone for the dark romance of Saldaña’s alluring vocal delivery that seamlessly oscillates between the sanguine and the apocalyptic with cold, stoic detachment. As a fitting counterpoint, Cota’s bass-lines and sequences fuse into dense melodic structures that lock-in with his signature half-time drum beats, propelling each piece forward with aggressive momentum. Medio Mutante, in the tradition of bands like Absolute Body Control, Fad Gadget, and Snowy Red, exclusively used vintage equipment of the era and worked within the given hardware limitations as a defining compositional tool. BOAN however, is free from any genre specific formula and embraces an array of modern synthesizers, sequencers, and effects in conjunction with the warm and classic analog tones that came to be synonymous with MM’s sound. By employing a variety of punchy downtempo swing rhythms BOAN establishes an innovative vocabulary of beats that make room for deeper melodic refrains to confidently emerge while simultaneously drilling themselves deep into the unconscious. Pieces such as Babylon and BOAN Acid are impossible to forget, standing out as the most energetic and arresting works on the album, while Secretos and the title track Mentiras are impassioned pop ballads that fully display the vulnerable yet vicious polarity of the full-length’s emotional spectrum. Saldaña manages to perfectly suspend her lurid and haunting lyrics above Cota’s rich bass lines and arpeggiator hooks, creating lush and complex melodies that are meticulously integrated with massive drum hits and intoxicating effects processing. Engineered and produced by Michael Stein of S U R V I V E at Omniverse Studios, Mentiras is deeply saturated with stereo chorus, reel-to-reel tape delay, and countless other elaborate studio experiments in order to create nuanced layers of vocals, drums, and musical phrasings that continually unveil refined subtleties with every repeat listen.
Thoroughly versed in the history and form of electronic music, BOAN have tirelessly continued to develop their song writing and arrangement process while rising to the top of the crowded Texas synth community, cultivating a rabid following both locally and abroad. Medio Mutante fans will finally be satiated as the matured, expansive sound of BOAN’s debut Mentiras not only meets the lofty standards set by MM but delves further into Cota & Saldaña’s unique and highly addictive electronic minimalism.