Alek Rein

— launch of 'Golden Montana'

Galeria Zé dos Bois

© Vera Marmelo

Anyone who has lived in a certain Portugal and especially in a certain Lisbon in the last decade or so knows who Alexandre Rendeiro, Alek Rein, is. That same “who” also knew about all the adventures behind “Mirror Lane”, a postponed album that eventually came out in 2016 and fulfilled the exercise of finding a certain song, where the sun mixed with more psychedelic Beatles ideas, Marc Bolan was no stranger to living in Lisbon, Syd Barrett enjoyed bifanas at Trevo and the Byrds played in the street, just because. The old met the new, more than an exercise in revivalism, this sound found the present and a place in that contemporary Lisbon. Inspiration gave way to talent and Alek Rein’s talent blossomed into a very hot pop album. Well worth the wait.

Eight years have passed (again, so long, where have you been?), we’ve seen him live several times, many of them solo, exploring new and old songs, adapting them to the changes in what he saw around him – this thing we still call Lisbon – and what was changing in him. Eight years to take the step between “Mirror Lane” and “Golden Montana”, the new album, a pop classic with sunny songs that serve as imagined postcards of other places. Basically, since it’s impossible to live in that postcard Lisbon – which doesn’t exist, never existed – why not sing about other postcards, other places, even other emotions. Which, perhaps, don’t exist either and never did. Well, they exist now, in these songs, under a beautiful sky.

It’s not alienation, but imagination. In “Golden Montana” there’s a confessional tone inherited from “Mirror Lane”, adventures that feel like gifts because they are part of imaginations, be they sonic or visual, drawing on Marc Bolan just as Ty Segall has drawn on him in recent years in some of his records. Most of the songs take off like explosions, a myriad of colours that settle in immediately and that the musician endures for as long as necessary, that is, until the song tells him to stop. It’s not that one dominates the other, or vice versa, but there is an elevation here, a magnetism through evocation. Perhaps this comes from the idea of postcards, of music from one place to another, or from an imaginary songbook that Rein picks up and explores with skill. In any case, breathe in this sun, live under this imagined sky, in this or any other city. Here are days and places that we all want to experience. AS

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