Cime reignites the fight for independence with their immersive solo debut.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Fresh from fronting Orange County garage-rock band ‘Costco Boyfriend’, Cime unhesitatingly adapts to life as a solo artist, releasing an ambitiously enterprising album, whose experimental take on 70’s Latin Folk-Rock delivers an excruciating ode to their homeland, Honduras. Delineating the social, economic, and political framework of the nation, Cime’s passionate indignation prompts the soundtrack of a historical textbook – but not one distorted by the fragile ego of Western ideology, rather an authentic elucidation of a brutal reality.

Opening with the blistering, Cumbia flavoured percussion on ‘Compay (Independencia)’, Cime immediately sets the tone of the album, with the chaotic palette of pandemonium frantically competing with the pulsating bass rhythm, instantly dictating the intensity of the album. This ferocity encapsulates the hunger of a generation yearning for a “brighter future”, presenting inspirational verses from both Cime and guest feature, El Café Atómico.

Stream ‘The Independence of Central America Remains an Unfinished Experiment’ on Spotify.

But rather than igniting the flame of independence, Cime collects the torch passed down by previous generations, seeking to complete the assignment set out by their ancestors several decades ago – hence the “unfinished experiment”. This provides moments of honour and commemoration throughout the album, such as the moving ‘Canción para Guillermo’; a beautiful tribute to the late Guillermo Anderson, an iconic Honduran musician renowned for his artistic commentary on societal issues. Through the jubilant echoes of the accordion and the cries of “you’ve been a teacher to me”, this track serves as a celebration of the life of an instrumental figure at the heart of the nation.

While commemorating the lives those who came before them, Cime also acknowledges the importance of the present, and begins to embrace responsibility while delivering galvanising verses with the aim of transforming these pipedreams of a brighter future into a reality. This sense of incitement can be felt on the abrasive, punk inspired ‘¡Convicción! (Campaña Nacional)’, with Cime disposing of some pent-up rage, singing the powerful lyrics; “They want to enslave us, Colonize and degrade us”. Along with Crochet’s cathartic contribution with the electric guitar, Cime’s unforgiving lyrics provide a thunderous passage, which resembles the ultimate protest against injustice. But amidst this chaos, the presence of their ancestors remains ever-present, as acknowledged at the end of the track through the lyrics; “Just think of them – your ancestors”.  

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The road towards redemption, however, is far plain sailing, with Cime constrained on occasions, portrayed through the rough mixing which often leaves their vocals drowning beneath the instrumentation. As well as reflecting a voice of reason entombed by sea of inequity, it may also be interpreted as somewhat of a breaking point, with years of corruption and oppression finally taking their toll. Such is the case on ‘Friends/Enemies (Earnest/Irony) [Disolución]’ – an intriguing track where the spiralling sci-fi arpeggios are greeted with lyrical vulnerability, with Cime admitting “Being earnest is hard when you’re filled with anxiety”. A similar approach is also taken on the thought provoking ‘By the Bunches (Banana Dictatorship)’, a track dedicated to the economic turbulence in which the nation currently finds itself in. Despite the enraged strumming and passionate delivery, the despondent voices once again set in, as Cime finds themselves asking “does anyone even care to hear me whine?”

But while this urge to relinquish may flirt with Cime’s conviction, it’s ultimately their rekindling with God which maintains their fighting spirit. This fortitude pulls through towards the end of tracklist and can be felt through the gospel refrain of “God loves you, he loves me too” on the extremely impactful, and upbeat ‘God, The FSLN, And the Despots (The Age-Old Story). This resolute spirit continues into ‘200 Years… (And What Came of Them)’, a track while dominated by the piercing woodwind instrument, manages to find peace in the knowledge that “God is not dead, we are not dead”. Concluding in abrupt, chilling fashion, the title track proceeds to close the album in a reflective manner, offering 2 and a half minutes to process the range of emotions unfurled throughout this transcending album.  

Just 30 minutes in length, Cime’s debut album may well be the most penetrating, yet compact album I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing this year. Through the diverse instrumentation and emotional rollercoaster, the former garage-rock bandleader not only captures the spirit of an entire nation, but also intimately delineates their individual expedition towards self-acceptance. A must hear!

Favourite Tracks: Company (Independencia), ¡Convicción! (Campaña Nacional), By the Bunches (Banana Dictatorships), God, the FSLN, and the Despots (The Age-Old Story)

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