Written by Carmen Mueller
Chicago band Where’s Fernando? Released their debut EP For No One? last year on November 3rd and there is so much to be said about what’s on this project. The group consists of Aaron Stearns (vocals), Cuixi Aguilar (guitar), Jack Kapson (guitar), Austen Goebel (bass), and Christian Moreno (drums) and I have to say that this ensemble is one of the most tightknit I have heard in a while.
One of the aspects about this band that really impresses me is that no one gets lost in translation throughout the whole album. On some projects, sometimes the vocals are all that stand out or the guitar is impressive, but I can tell Where’s Fernando? put a lot of thought into the structure of each song because every person gets their time to shine. And this band has talent to spare.
The first track on the EP “Indifference”, starts off with a guitar and drum beat that is reminiscent of The Clash; there is so much character and power radiating from Aguilar and Kapson. The rhythm section is also really fun, especially when it comes to the drum solo during the outro of the song. And I would be a complete idiot if I were to not comment on Stearns vocals; his range is fantastic and I like that he is not afraid to show off his falsetto. Once I heard this track, I knew that I was really going to enjoy the rest of the EP. And I was right.
“Come on Now” is the following track and dear god this builds off of on the momentum the leading song had started. Something that I really appreciate is just how pretty Stearns voice is because that adds such a unique dynamic when paired with such strong, rock-heavy instrumentals. The song depicts a desperate love and you can hear that not only in the lyrics but with the way Stearns totally performs that emotion through his voice.
This next song is so sarcastic, so already I dig it. “Ain’t Life Grand” recounts the nuisance that is fallen relationships and just how annoying they can be. Moreno on the drums really sets the direction for this song; you want to rock out to it rather than mope around. The transitions within the guitars are also a highlight and totally seamless; they change the mood of the song on the drop of a dime which keeps me on my toes. The guitar solo in the bridge also showcases just how talented this group is.
Having the next song “Look Around” begin with isolated drums is a really fun choice and I love when songs build from the drums and then gets more layered. And the drums get followed with guitars and a vocal style that takes me back to listening to Santana when I first got into rock music. The guitars are damn incredible and the darker tone that builds in the song reflects the confusion and pain that is felt in the lyrics.
I love this song. “Connections” is a track that breaks up the album and allows the instruments to do all the talking. I always appreciate when albums have songs like this because it tells me that they are not afraid of taking more risks and that they don’t hide behind their vocalist. Goebel’s bass is so ear-catching and plays alongside the guitars really beautifully. It’s a great track and I feel like anyone could like this song, regardless of the genre they are loyal to.
Closing the EP is the song “Funesta” which may be the most experimental on the album. I say this because the vocal style is different from anything that has preceded it. Guitarist Cuixi Aguilar’s vocals border on a more spoken approach which makes sense due to the narrative nature of the lyrics. His singing is then paired with their solid rock instrumentals which is an interesting dynamic. Once again, I can’t compliment the strings and drums enough; the breakdown at the end of the song is so unique and playful which is refreshing in rock music.
Overall, this EP is such a strong album to debut with and it does an impeccable job creating their unique sound and style. They have phenomenal instruments, unique song structure, and such a strong vocal presence that is necessary for any rock band to succeed. Despite only being together since January of 2017, their sound is already so cohesive and complimentary that I can only imagine how much bigger they will sound on future projects. This EP is a worthy inclusion in any playlist, so I suggest you give this project a listen!
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