'Canta' Review: Psy-rock band Amo Amo presents a record full of 'cosmic, fun, feel-good dance music'
Singer-songwriter Love Femme delves into the emotional space many of us find ourselves in as we navigate between nature and our concrete jungles
Psychedelic rock band Amo Amo is set to release their latest EP 'Canta' on June 19.
On the surface, 'Canta' is the perfect summer release, particularly fitting for a summer unlike any we've had before. But it also has layers of depth to it, reflective of the group's eclectic identity, including their desire to give people space where they can feel free to dance their hearts out.
Amo Amo came into existence when Love Femme, a queer singer-songwriter, who goes by ze/zir pronouns, met Omar Velasco, Justin Flint, Shane Mckillop and Alex Siegel of the band Mother Tongues. "I used to just go watch them and dance for hours," Femme shared in an interview with Billboard.
One day, Femme dropped by after a video shoot while Mother Tongues were in the studio with 'My Morning Jacket' singer, guitarist, and producer Jim James back in 2017 hoping to sing backup and ended up recording with them for five hours. "Omar (Velasco) wanted me to join," Femme shared. "Jim thought it would be cool. I didn't know exactly what I was going to do. They thought I would show up and maybe play the triangle or sing some backgrounds or play some guitar, but I ended up being pretty central to the writing process of their album."
Out of that recording, came the band's debut self-titled record featuring standout tracks like 'Antidote' which helped shape the band's fluid, genre-bending sound that draws inspiration from psychedelia, folk, disco, doo-wop, soft-rock, ambient new wave, alternative electronica, and beyond. Now, they're taking the experimental blend of five unique artists that created the album, 'Amo Amo', and are shaping it into the "cosmic, fun, feel-good dance music" Femme hoped to make more of back when ze spoke to Billboard.
'Canta' at its core is a feel-good album. The fluid sounds that emanate from your speakers when you turn up this Amo Amo record instantly put you in a good mood and make you want to enjoy everything life has to offer, from the warm sun and birds chirping to the movement of your body as you let the music take over. The group's music is essentially a sonic representation of what it means to love life, and it's no coincidence that their name itself is the Spanish word for 'love'.
Love Femme adds several layers to the group's ideology. Love is short for Lovell, but additionally mirrors the group's name and desire to spread love through their work, while Femme wonderfully represents the singer's queerness and an inclusive creative message for members of the LGBTQIA+ communities.
In an interview with the Philadelphia Gay News, Femme shared, "I would hope that me being queer would appeal to more femme and LGBTQ fans. I would hope that they would feel safer coming to our shows. It’s just who I am. Mostly, I do it for my own well-being and for my own ability to honor the feelings I’ve had since I was very young. If our songs make people feel safe and happy and give them a sense of inclusion and they’re inspired, that’s wonderful. But, first and foremost, it’s about my own emotional wellness and expressing myself in that way."
Sonically and thematically, Amo Amo creates music that draws on a sense of nostalgia, without attaching it to a desire to return to what was. Instead, the group's philosophy revolves around combining a love for nature with an almost childlike wonder around what the world is like in the current era. Speaking about the group's videos, some of which Femme helped direct, ze stated, "I think of videos as a reference to the future and futurism instead of a throwback to the past. Visually they represent the powerful nature ideology that, miraculously, we can all just watch anywhere, any time on our phones. So I think that it’s a wish for now and there’s hope for the future. That’s what I think about for music videos, that someone is going to see this and feel what we feel right now. The glory days (for music videos) are right now because I get to have a say in it."
Their latest single, 'Missed Connection', is a chill, groovy track that, combines with the band's soothing vocals making it a perfect release for the summer solstice weekend during which the album drops. The song follows the previously released title track, 'Canta', a stunning chillwave number that was released in celebration of Earth Day.
Speaking about their latest single, which carries forward the theme of nature and connection in a time of technological advancement and dependency, Amo Amo states, "'Missed Connection' explores themes of isolation and the absence of human connection within our technology-obsessed culture – a message which feels resonant in the current climate of pandemic and social distancing. The song expresses a deeply felt yearning for reconnection, not only with one another but with all forms of life and with Earth itself."
The band's debut, conceived during a month-long recording retreat nestled amongst California’s vineyards and out of range of cell phone service, yielded a collection of magical tunes that saw the wonder in where nature and technology converged. 'Canta' brings back the same vibe and energy, but takes this a step further, delving into the emotional space many of us find ourselves in as we try to navigate the distance between the vastness of nature and our own concrete jungles.
You can listen to 'Missed Connection' on AmoAmoMusic.com.