Chicano Batman Returns With New Album and Tour Aimed To Help People Feel Alright
By Luis Linan
Los Angeles psychedelic soul quartet Chicano Batman is slated to release their 3rd full length album, titled Freedom is Free, on March 3rd. With a substantial tour, taking them all over the US and concluding with high profile slots at the Coachella and Forecastle Music Festivals, the group looks primed to jump to the next level in 2017.
While the group’s first two LPs, 2010’s Chicano Batman and 2014’s Cycles in Existential Rhyme, are fantastic albums, times are undoubtedly different now. That fact has not been lost on the members of the band, who approached this new album aware of the current political and social climate.
This does mean the group is ditching their straightforward cheery and lighthearted tendencies, instead opting for a nuanced approach. On the album’s second single and title track “Freedom is Free,” a soulful mid tempo track bolstered by an upbeat rhythm section and dreamy vocals, singer Bardo Martinez is unwaveringly optimistic, and aims to keep the current political climate in perspective in the face of hatred and intimidation. Martinez sings, “While I’m here on earth I’ll rejoice in this world,” and, “Life will flow on as long as the grass grows and the water runs,” which, while in the same song, are in contrast to lines like, “Nobody likes you / Nobody cares / Nobody wants you.” The band is taking a more moderate “we’re going to be alright” stance in response to both those who feel attacked and their attackers.
In the same vein, the band has also released an exceptional bilingual cover of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” accessing a contemporary sentiment that would have made Guthrie proud.
Chicano Batman seems poised and ready to take up the flag of tolerance, understanding, and community; they know that these are the things that will not only get us through the next four years, but hopefully much longer.