Sounds don’t come more summery than the slow-groove slice of shimmery sunshine from fiery Argentine trio Las Kellies, “Golden Love”. A far cry from their primitive post-punk beginnings, it finds the girls discovering the wide open spaces in their sound – and filling them with echoey instrumentation from a palette that has been expanded to include keyboards and synth drums.
At the same time, Ceci Kelly (guitar and vocals) has explored new melodic possibilities in a voice that has sung in Spanish, English, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Catalan and French, but now focuses on English.
Las Kellies formed in 2005 when three girls – Ceci, Sil (drums and vocals) and original bass player Titi – met at a gig in Buenos Aires and were inspired to form a band together. At first they borrowed amps and instruments from friends, using them on their notable 2007 debut Shaking Dog, but they’ve come a long way since then, in an ever-evolving career.
It’s reached its latest chapter with their fourth studio album, Total Exposure, due in September on the ever-interesting Fire Records. It features a return appearance from UK reggae legend Dennis Bovell, who produced their third album, Kellies, introducing strong elements of dub to their previous post-punk sound – just as he did for The Slits on their landmark 1979 debut Cut.
Also on board is producer Iván Diaz Mathé (a.k.a. Ivi Lee), Argentina’s own answer to Bovell and master of Nairobi Dub, South America’s foremost backing band for visiting reggae musicians, including Lee “Scratch” Perry and The Mad Professor.
It’s not all floaty frivolity, though, and comparisons to The Slits, Raincoats, Delta 5 and ESG remain valid. The other – rawer – side of their sound is best exemplified on their cover of ESG’s 1991 cult classic “Erase You”, recorded for the UK’s Record Store Day, which you can check out below, as well as the lush tones of “Golden Love”.