Alternative musician Los Retros – AKA Mauri Tapia – may be young, having only just finished high school, but his sound is already both confident and individual. The 19-year-old songwriter has been making music since he was a child, but he recently signed to Stones Throw to release his debut EP, Retrospect, on Friday, June 21.
“Never Have Enough,” one of the first singles on the EP, opens Retrospect with a high-pitched, vibrating drone and strong vocals with a bit of a swagger. It’s mellow, with drawn-out rhythms and languidly humming synth interrupted by straightforward guitar, a twinkling melody and another warping lick. It’s the longest track on Retrospect, and though it is difficult to designate any of the EP’s tracks as the strongest, “Never Have Enough” would certainly be a worthy pick.
That said, it is not only the first track that is this infectious and cool; each of the six tracks on Retrospect is swoon-worthy, and not only because of Tapia’s smooth vocals. Tapia infuses a groovy alternative musical base with hints of jazz, R&B and psychedelic funk to create an unforgettable, engaging lo-fi EP. At times, he throws in vintage tones with a lick of winding synth (“Last Day on Earth”) or far-away, echoing vocals and shimmering psychedelic tones (“Oh Grace”).
Tapia’s confidence in his own sound on this EP seems unmatched, but it is for good reason: his artistic experience is evident in the accessibility and irresistibility of his music.
The six songs on Retrospect are, after all, highly melodic and deeply personal, with relatable lyrics about Tapia’s relationships and loves – perhaps the most so is “Friends,” an upbeat, driving track about walking the line between platonic and romantic, where Tapia sings, “All I can guess is you like me/Or more/I hope.” Not everything is romantic, however, and on “Last Day on Earth,” a hazy track with a prominent drum beat and a brassy, dynamic melody, Tapia details the importance of platonic love (“Time is well-spent/Dancing with friends”’).
Retrospect is a strong debut for Los Retros. It’s infectiously woozy yet still unique in its vintage R&B and electronic tones, and while its six tracks are infused with everything from jazz to psychedelic funk, it all comes together in an impossibly groovy EP. Retrospect is out on June 21 on Stones Throw, but in the meantime, preorder the EP and its first two singles via Los Retros’s Bandcamp page below.