Infinite Sprawling


Robert Sotelo is a cosmic pop melodist; a heartfelt multi-instrumentalist whose direct songs are curiously affecting. His debut album Cusp from 2017 (UTR 098LP) was packed with miniature psych overtures and earnest musings, he then followed this up in 2018 with an album called Botanical, more keyboard-minded and playful with its near-absurdist palette of sound and reflective mood. Upset The Rhythm release Sotelo's third album Infinite Sprawling, his first record since relocating from London to Glasgow and partly inspired by his new city's inclusive and collaborative musical world. Sotelo has always excelled at matching up the prosaic with the profound and on Infinite Sprawling he does this with aplomb. A collection of casual revelations, lifted out of the mundane, are explored throughout the album's ten sprightly tracks. "Something Besides" opens the record in blithe reverie, nodding over a country-twang guitar. "Mister" follows in lively attitude, splintering with spidery bursts of fuzz. Through a lyrical list of items in the breezy tumble of a song called "Battery" where Sotelo muses on the anxieties inherent in forging a new social life when you move city. A similar theme carried by "The Set Up" which deals with discovering his new neighbors' tropes, the track strolls into the sun with an echoed refrain. "Roof" and "In The Style Of" also boast this analytic quality, making sense of the world through its small things first, both unabashedly melodic with blushes of tremolo blushes and inventive arrangements. The title track refers to Sotelo's final trip to Buenos Aires as a regular excursion to visit his mother, it's a farewell to the city and makes for an interesting counterpoint to the other songs' new starts. "Piece Of Cake" meanwhile is a more brooding effort, essentially a contemplation on lacking culinary skill. Twisty wah guitar lines tag along with Sotelo's vocal, each tugging at the sleeve of the other, while tambourines and keyboard pulses resound over the clicky drum accents. This keenly robust album of new beginnings and strategies for living is quietly drawn to a close with "Message Of Beauty", a relaxed ballad of drowsy farewells, swoons of violin and swirled clouds of organ drone. Infinite Sprawling is an album born out of new friendships, in a new country and for all its feet-finding sounds confident and emphatically considered. Recorded with Ruari MacLean (of Vital Idles, Golden Grrrls) and Edwin Stevens (Irma Vep, Yerba Mansa) at their home studio Namaste Sound. 180 gram dark-green vinyl; reverse-board sleeve with lyric insert; edition of 300.