Antarctigo Vespucci - Leavin' La Vida Loca (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Antarctigo Vespucci

Leavin' La Vida Loca (2015)

Quote Unquote / Really Records

Chris Farren and Jeff Rosenstock want to be better. They want to achieve goals they set for themselves. They want happiness, a future and all that jazz. But, damn it, life keeps getting in the way.

Antarctigo Vespucci's Leavin' La Vida Loca picks up where last year’s Soulmate Stuff and I’m So Tethered left off. It’s more of Chris Farren’s bleak yet hopeful lyricism backed by excellent playing and production work from Jeff Rosenstock. Sometimes it sounds like surf rock, sometimes like 90s power pop, sometimes like Farren’s Fake Problems. But this is a fuller, more realized record, and their sound has absolutely benefited from the addition of Benny Horowitz (of Gaslight Anthem) grounding the songs with his notable drum contributions. It maintains an upbeat tempo, but this is not a happy album.

The constant struggle between the person Chris Farren is and the person Chris Farren wants to be acts as the main conflict throughout. His failures and triumphs are specifically his own but can easily be interpreted as everyone else’s. The ridiculous and amazing title, Leavin’ La Vida Loca, accurately depicts the thoughts and insecurities that weave in and out. Farren searches for greener pastures he no longer can be sure exist. As is often the case, idealistic future endeavors are crushed by current reality. On “Hooray For Me,” Farren follows the idea of “I wanna live better than everyone, I wanna take over the world in my lifetime” with “If I die, that would be just fine.” Common themes include a need to be taken care of, living in hell, and bad memories. The album closes with Antarctigo Vespucci’s most anthemic song to date, yet it’s titled “I See Failure.” And “When I look into the future, I see failure and fear and death and endless tragedy” doesn’t exactly suggest a man content. The 10-song, 26-minute collection ends with a question, “Did I stay too long?”

No, Chris, you didn’t. You left us wanting more.

Leavin’ La Vida Loca is a record made in Brooklyn, NY by two friends that call themselves Antarctigo Vespucci for roughly $300. It is not only a contender for best album of the year, but a soon-to-be genre classic. Farren and Rosenstock have done sometimes truly inspiring here and people will take note. Hopefully, at least for some amount of time, Antarctigo Vespucci can enjoy their incredible achievement.