One of Madison’s very own, Bien Bien, released their brand new EP, Tía Rosa, May 1. Though Madisonians at heart, this “groovy, indie soul” band is now based in Los Angeles, and soon enough they will be releasing their self-titled debut full-length album June 5.
The EP is short, consisting of only four tracks. It doesn’t just fly by, though — Tía Rosa takes listeners on a dream journey of smooth guitar riffs, hints of hip-hop and chill vibes.
The first track earned the spotlight as the album’s title, “Tía Rosa.” The song opens with a laid-back guitar riff with a light tone, which is emphasized by the entering of the song’s underlying hip-hop beat. While the beginning of the song is a slow groove, the pace suddenly picks up to create an upbeat track. It falls back again, giving the song more of a dynamic tempo.
The lyrics of the song are all about a woman named Tía Rosa. It talks about her dancing, her youth and her ability to make the world seem clearer. The rest of the lyrics follow this same pattern of describing her aura, and the words remain simple throughout the song.
“Head On The Corner” follows second, and it opens with a super catchy hip-hop sample, paired with a light, fluttery sound that reminds listeners of something like a harp. The bass comes in with the chorus, which you could characterize as what sounds like freestyle oohs and aahs. The simplicity of wording and a female subject is something that carries over into this song as well: “she sets me free.” There are also hints of Bien Bien’s Spanish influences, with Spanish words scattered here and there.
The third song, “People In My Life,” also carries large influence from Spanish romanticism. This is heard especially in the gentle acoustic guitar that flows throughout the entirety of the song. It embodies the strumming and picking patterns that are unique to Spanish music, like quick triads, minor chords and highly rhythmic strumming.
Just when listeners think that this is the whole song (which would honestly be fine with me), the rhythm picks up, the guitar becomes heavier and in comes a hip-hop beat over the top. Right away though, that beat goes away and reveals once more the song’s gentleness. What a tease, and a good one at that! This song is beautiful and heartfelt, and man does it give you the feels.
Before you know it, the song drifts into the next — “Morphine Lips.” This song is like a longer version of a dreamy, psychedelic outro. It almost puts listeners into a trance. Its slow moving, smooth and distorted voices are heard over the top during some spots. Perhaps this is meant to reflect the effects of morphine. Either way, it’s quite the relaxing, astral listen.
Tía Rosa is similar to Bien Bien’s first EP, She Grooves Me. The band has stayed true to their groovy, rhythmic roots, reminding us of favorites like “Lake Superior” and “Whereabouts.” Still, the band has showed their growth with this newest work, and after hearing this, fans are going to have to try their best to be patient for their future full-length debut.