I love reading the “best-of-the-year” lists just to see what I missed out on. 2017, in particular, was a very chaotic year after having to go through another huelga and a category-five hurricane. Nevertheless, the tumultuous year still delivered some great music, be it from major artists or those in the indie scene. Puerto Rico Indie recently published their top 17 music projects of 2017 and to say I found a few gems would be an understatement. Among them was the great El Experimento Caribeño by funk-jazz-rock group Sr. Langosta and Buscabulla’s EP II. But one of the projects that caught my eye was Andrea Cruz’s Tejido de Laurel and, after listening to the project for a few times, I must admit that I’m ashamed of not having listened to it earlier. This album is a great mix of folk music and indie pop influences with beautiful vocals, production, and songwriting.
(picture of Andrea Cruz as found on her Facebook page)
With Tejido de Laurel, Andrea Cruz explores themes such as love, distance, understanding, and memories. Led by singles like “No Toquemos Tierra”, “Fertiliza”, and “Cancion de Amargura”, Cruz’s first project demonstrates the singer-songwriter’s talents in full display. Her songwriting proves to be poetic, and little touches such as the soft violins in “No Toquemos Tierra” and the trombones in “Canción de Amargura” show her attention to detail which, in the long run, will give her work even more replay value. All of this in addition to Cruz’s fantastic vocal abilities, give the listener further insight into the emotions and experiences being expressed in each song.
In my opinion, the dream-like experience provided by this project is one of its many strengths, but many might find this to be a flaw. In an age where “lit hop,” hip hop that makes you want to party like crazy, is the prevailing form of music in the charts, many might find Cruz’s smooth melodies to be a bit too soft, but its target audience will definitely enjoy this aspect. The 36 minute length and ten-song tracklist is another pro for Tejido de Laurel. Today, artists usually tend to think that more is better due to the way streaming services work. While the internet has provided artists various ways to experiment artistically and in the way an album should be marketed, lengthy projects might sometimes have a lot of fillers. However, Cruz focuses on quality over quantity, making her short project highly re-playable in its tight structure.
With her first full length project, Andrea Cruz proves to be one of Puerto Rico’s singer-songwriters to look out for. Her ability to craft beautiful melodies with poetic lyrics demonstrate how she is one of the few who can share the stage with artists like iLe. And while some might find its dream-like songs and length to be a flaw, others might find these aspects make the project even better. I highly recommend Tejido de Laurel, and my only wish right now is to see Cruz rocking an NPR Tiny Desk Concert.