By: Marcelo Báez

Other than being based out of Spanish-speaking countries, what does the Colombian party band Bomba Estéreo have in common with Chilean synth rockers Astro? Well, besides occasionally gigging together, there’s one thing: based on their new singles, both seem to be influenced by the Caribbean. 

But while one band couldn’t be more obvious when it comes to their inspiration, the other is a lot more ambiguous. Does this mean they can’t be playlist buddies? 

That’s up to you, really.

"Fiesta" is Bomba Estéreo’s first track from their upcoming full-length release (out June 2nd), produced by Ricky Reed, of hip-hop/pop outfit Wallpaper. The opening guitar riffs —which I’m assuming are being played by Bomba’s behind-the-scenes main man, Simón Mejía— sound familiar and Bomba-like. Likewise, fans of the band will quickly recognize Saumet’s Caribbean twang (now a lot more pronounced than before) as it begins cutting through the mix. After all, as the accompanying press release claims, “Liliana has Caribbean coastal melody in her blood.”

But just when you’re getting ready to say, “Yeah, this sounds like another Bomba Estéreo song,” the track kicks into full fiesta mode. Suddenly the soft, champeta-esque beginnings are amplified with a heavy bass synth, modified samples, and a deep kick drum. At heart Bomba has always been an upbeat band, but if “Fiesta” is a sample of sounds to come, they seem to be leaning towards a harder sound—and it’s not half bad.

Speaking of a harder sounds, what to make of “Caribbean,” Astro’s new single? First off, it doesn’t sound Caribbean at all. Of course, the Astro kids aren’t to be taken literally, meaning they’re not going to set themselves on fire because that’s the sort of thing they sing about in their songs, ya know? So, then, what’s the song about, and what does it sound like? Andrés Nusser, Astro’s frontman, had this to say: “Some parts of the music were inspired by Enya, hence the name ‘Caribbean’ (from her song ‘Caribbean Blue’).”

You’ll probably be glad to know Astro’s “Caribbean” doesn’t sound like Enya. This fast-paced teaser of the album the Chilean outfit is set to release this summer is good old Astro: quirky, synthy, loud. It’s fun to once again hear Andrés’ high-pitched, helium-like vocals glide along a hodgepodge collection of both analog and synthetic percussion. It doesn’t blow any of their previous stuff out of the water, mind you, but at least we know Astro is finally gonna follow up their debut LP from 4 long years ago. So there’s that.

Marcelo Baéz is a writer, DJ, and musician based in NYC. When he's not producing "Rico Suave" parties, he releases music under P3CULIAR.