Across his first two albums as San Fermin, Ellis Ludwig-Leone created a huge, expansive world for his songs to live in, which he then gave to intriguingly polarising mouthpieces. Allen Tate and Charlene Kaye once again tag-team throughout new album ‘Belong’, Ellis’ most personal album yet.
Tracks concerning the band leader’s anxiety and worries, the first time he’s written in this way, are hidden under the weirdest music he’s ever produced. From opener ‘Oceanica”s sudden lurch into skittish jazz to ‘Dead’, a track that sees Charlene battling against an war cry that bubbles under the track before a brass-led breakdown sends it into chaos.
San Fermin as a project has come an awfully long way since its debut, self-titled album from 2013, a completely laptop-produced record littered with minimal, rambling interludes. The opportunities that sit in front of Ellis on album three serve to overwhelm him at points on ‘Belong’ as a result. There’s a melting pot of styles employed across the record, but it’s the simple ‘Happiness Will Ruin This Place’ and the driving, punchy ‘Perfume’ where it makes its biggest impact.
‘Cairo’ is a beautiful intertwining of Allen and Charlene’s voices which gives the album its highlight, but a lot of the record shows a lack of streamlining, or a singular focus. If album four sees San Fermin filtering through the bucketloads of promise on show here, there’s something really special on the horizon.