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Hombre Invisible

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Album Review

Ely Guerra's fifth studio album, Hombre Invisible, was created in rather different circumstances from her previous work. For starters, Guerra decided to quit EMI and launch her own record and distribution company. Musically, however, Guerra was far from being on her own, as she chose to work with a plethora of illustrious collaborators: Los Tres' Alvaro Henríquez, Enrique Bunbury, Kinky's Gilberto Cerezo, Gustavo Santaolalla, Juanes, Pablo Gigliotti, Café Tacuba's Emmanuel "Meme" del Real, and Horacio Franco. Contrary to appearances, Hombre Invisible is anything but an album of duets, as all of the above limited their input to sending sequenced tracks and ideas to Guerra, for the singer to add lyrics and flesh out the songs with her band, the Ely Guerras. The results are fairly impressive, but also quite puzzling, as it is impossible to tell the influence of any of the co-writers, raising the question as to why she would go to all the trouble of asking for their help in the first place. Indeed, if there is a fundamental characteristic to Hombre Invisible, that characteristic is its overwhelming uniformity of tone and style. Working in a vein similar to that of Spain's Christina Rosenvinge (think Hope Sandoval for international audiences), Guerra's hushed voice rises timidly over a sea of electronic lull and droning guitars for a seductive collection of mood pieces. Admittedly, Hombre Invisible flirts with the danger of crossing the thin line between sonic caress and sonic blur. Whispered lyrics are often unintelligible to the point that sometimes it is even hard to tell whether Guerra is singing in Spanish or English (she drifts between the two), let alone tell songs apart. This is a pity, as close listening to the best moments, such as "Colmena" and "Stranger," offer plenty of rewards. Hombre Invisible can be a very appealing work, but it also continuously risks morphing into background music — even if very fine at that — which is a disservice to Guerra's songwriting. In this sense, one cannot help but feel that if all of the aforementioned collaborators had also sung on this record, the final result would have been stronger, a sort of Spanish version of the Isobel Campbell-Mark Lanegan albums. Hombre Invisible was awarded the 2010 Latin Grammy in the Best Alternative Music Album category.

Customer Reviews

Hombre Invisible and the unforgettable woman

Ely Guerra is what you would call the genius in the shadow, each of her records differs from the next, and nothing sounds uninspired or washed up.
Setting all this aside for a moment. Hombre Invisible, whether or not you remotely care about anything else Ely Guerra has been associated with. is fluidly, hauntingly, overbearingly but more importantly, merely powerful and nothing less.

Between each arrangement and acoustic free fall lies a sultry voice, powerful and soothing.
The lack of explanation with language makes describing an album like this almost a futile attempt, However the record breaths on his own, allowing another to speculate on the marvels of the atmosphere instilling visions right in front of you.

Throughout the individual elements each song displays, the album plays through as collective.
No sound is here without reason an immaculate arrangement of instruments in songs such as BUMERAN and COLMENA, regardless of how much or little the song retain, it never fails to get their point across, as each song is a sort of lesson of mind that willfully continues on its own as you unconsciously wander along, the lyrics are merely accompaniment for the music, adding just that much more icing on the cake, and because of this the vocals allow plenty of breathing room for the music to do as it will. well illustrated in the extreme jazz styling of LENTO FUNERAL and the hollow and cataleptic LA HABITACION or they switch roles, letting the lyrics tell the story as the music harkens the flame to give that much more sensibility to the song.

Hombre Invisible doesn't come full circle as a stream of consciousness for the sole reason that these sort of expressions do not cease, and leaves one with a bittersweet outlook on the experience, more sweet than bitter. The album is the epitome of conscious sensuality, and basically can't be encapsulated on one genre. If you try to label this music it will stretch that label to the braking point. A truly enjoyable album, to everyone. Ely Guerra is in the house and here to stay.


Magical... the wait was well worth it

Ely Guerra is arguably, -with the notable exception of Natalia Lafourcade- the only female Mexican musician that presents something new and refreshing with every album.

Without a doubt, this woman is the bravest of all. Ely doesn’t fit the industry standards and to be where she is now has been sweat and blood. If “Lotofire” and “Sweet and Sour, Hot y Spicy” were too sophisticated for many mainstream ears, with “Hombre Invisible”, Ely gives a kind slap to those who hadn’t believed in her before.“Hombre Invisible” is arguably her best album (hard to say when every album is excellent), but sonically and vocally is perfect. The production is extraordinary, you can hear loops, many voice tracks, subtleties in her voice, music instruments she had never used before (mostly piano).

In every song, Ely breaks the formula of the traditional structure which makes “Hombre Invisible” her most experimental and spectacular album (“Stranger” ends suddenly in jazz, “Lento Funeral” has a Radioheadesque bridge, “Antes de septiembre” is like five songs in one, from bossa nova to dream pop, and “La Habitación” has 8 minutes of piano solo).
It’s very important to note that the songs, which were inspired by loops created by talents such as Gustavo Santaolalla, Bunbury and Juanes, do NOT sound like them. Thank God. So it’s impressive that Juanes is actually the one that originated the cornerstone track of the album “Antes de septiembre”.

Lastly, Ely proves ironically in an album named “Invisible Man” that she doesn’t need a man to create the best song in her career: “Colmena”, a dream pop ballad that will make your skin crawl.
This version of “Hombre invisible” has two bonus tracks that are worth the price alone. “Vale que tengas” her acapella song that has always been present in her concerts (for the first time published), and the catchy “Happinness”.
A great album indeed.

Ely is amazingly talented and Sensual !

Ely has come again with an album that culminates some of the best vocals emotionally and sensitivity that not too many artist can give ! Colmena as her lead single is simply amazing that even my 4 month old son can smile and hum in the melody !
Ely gives herself completely to her music full on! It's not to follow the trend or anything close ! She speaks her mind and soul in each song like no other .
One artist I can compare her too is the incredible Sinead O'connor . Another artist who sings with her heart and don't care about trends but art and a meaning to her lyrics !
Great job Ely !! Can't wait to see you tour for this album !!! :)


Born: February 13, 1972

Genre: Rock y Alternativo

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Mexican singer/songwriter Ely Guerra debuted locally in 1992 with the release of a self-titled album. Graduating from Washington's Evergreen State College, her Latin alternative pop/rock style failed to achieve good reviews. However, she moved to London to make her follow-up record, titled Pa' Morirse De Amor and released in 1997, featuring her first hit single called "Angel De Fuego." In addition, her picture next to Julieta Venegas appeared on the cover of Time magazine introducing them as the...
Full Bio
Hombre Invisible, Ely Guerra
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Customer Ratings