The emergence of a band like Astroboy in the Uruguayan market was understandable. Uruguay’s endemic genres like Tango, Murga, and Candombe have always held little sway over the tastes of youth, whereas popular bands like La Vela Puerca or No Te Va Gustar still fail to strike a chord with listeners weaned on British and American music. Astroboy attempted to bridge that gap with the release of their debut album, a seven-song EP entitled “Cinco Estrellas” [Five Stars]. The EP was issued in 2003.
Verily, they sing in English, and their approach differs from traditional Uruguayan Rock, but problems abound. First of all, they may sing in English, but they do not compose songs in English. It is palpable that the words are devised in Spanish and then translated into English, with little regard for the nuances of each language. This is denoted by the rhymes they resort to (when they do rhyme), and by the rhyme schemes in use – these never move beyond the basic ABCB. And when they do try (as in “Did I Tell You?”), they wind up coupling words like “drowning” with “laughing”. And the lyrics themselves are a drawback, as they are plagued by grammar and syntax problems (I check my meanings/And all my kinds are ways/ That I don’t mind/Yeah!).
Moreover, a tendency to take the easy way out is already pronounced here; some compositions are made up of just one verse and one chorus reiterated throughout the whole song, as in “Fácil” [Easy] and the closing “Time Has Passed” (a bonus track, and the weakest song on offer). Some (minor) confusions between British and American English are also in evidence. But the most egregious aspect is the music itself, wholly derivative of Britpop bands (most notably Oasis). There is a difference between being inspired by something and imitating something; it is a thin line, but Astroboy crosses it gratuitously. From Oasis they also take the attitude and general outlook (especially singer Martín Rivero, who hero-worships Liam Gallagher). Continue reading