Pescado Rabioso

  • Artist: Pescado Rabioso
  • Album: Desatormentándonos
  • Country of Origin: Argentina
  • Released: 1972
  • Genre: Rock, Folk Rock, Psychedelic Rock
  • Available on: Spotify, Google Play, Amazon CD, iTunes
  • Recommendation by Ian Magnuson
The album artwork is as wild as the vocals.

The album artwork is as wild as the vocals.

When asked to think of countries that rock, admittedly Argentina wouldn’t have popped to the top of my mind. Sifting through my Spotify “Discovery” playlist that generates recommendations for me, I stumbled upon Pescado Rabioso. Even if you're like me and have terrible Spanish, I highly recommend checking out this short-lived Argentine folk rock band that lasted from 1971 to 1973. Little did I realize initially that I was listening to a cornerstone of Argentine rock. Though it’s a classic four-person rock band, from what I can gather, it was mostly the project of Luis Alberto Spinetta, heralded as, in tandem with Charly Garcia, the “father of Argentine rock”.

“Rabid Fish” as they might be called in English, had a brief world tour that covered Brazil, the United States, and parts of Europe. I imagine they were somewhat limited in their touring options in the United States as I haven’t found a single song in English yet (not that there really should be). I must say it’s a shame that I can’t understand the lyrics, as Spinetta’s passion crosses the language barrier and is evident in his particularly wild vocals (particularly in the song Serpiente).

I’ll be covering their first of two albums, Desatormentándonos (Untorturing Us). Their second album, Pescado Rabioso II, is conspicuously missing from Spotify and the remaining Artaud is actually a solo album from Spinetta that is somewhat incorrectly labeled due to contractual obligations from the publisher.

Pescado Rabioso is both familiar and unique. There seems to be a love of interesting guitar licks but a preference not to overdo them (or do them enough in my opinion!). Each song has this wonderful progression that rarely revisits a previously-played instrumental portion, save for the occasional song with a chorus. This is where the folk background becomes quite obvious as they are not only telling a story verbally but musically as well.

You can easily feel some significant influence from the blues, jazz, and British rock groups of the decade. It may be due to my lack of cultural understanding in Argentina but I honestly had a hard time finding what I would recognize as any latin influence (beyond the obvious Spanish lyrics). For those of you who do happen to speak and understand Spanish, judging by Spinetta’s background, I can tell you that you won’t be disappointed. He references multiple artists, philosophers, and thinkers as his lyrical influences with Nietzsche, van Gogh, Foucault, and Artaud being named specifically (among others).

At the end of the day, music is about more than just understanding message or narrative. I’m often comfortable judging music by the sheer passion of the musicians and I can’t stress enough how easy it is to hear with Pescado Rabioso.

Key songs: El Jardinero, Serpiente, Superchería