By Anna Claire White
The cover of Chicago-based four piece Divino Niño’s upcoming LP, Foam, looks like French surrealist Yves Tanguy learned how to use Adobe Illustrator and took visual cues from the album sleeve of MGMT’s Congratulations—that is to say, it’s trippy.
Created by the band’s guitarist and School of the Art Institute of Chicago graduate Camilo Medina, the surreal album art captures the essence of Divino Niño’s music. “The art that I like takes that weird feeling in your subconscious and brings it out,” says Medina. “That’s why surreal art is so interesting—it deals with things that don’t exist in reality and stretches your sense of wonder. I like that in art, and we like that in music. We try to bring a new feeling to the table.”
Light yet complex, Foam layers waves of sparkly synths and retro, beachy guitar, but emphasizes the band’s lyrical complexity by vocals as the primary instrument. Foam is the third full-length release by Medina and bandmates Javier Forero, Guillermo Rodriguez, Pierce Cordina, but the band feels like in many ways the record is their debut. They released the album’s first two singles in March, “Coca Cola” and title track “Foam,” the band’s first new material since 2016.
The foursome all have Latin American roots –Medina and Forero are from Colombia, Rodriguez hails from Puerto Rico, and Cordina grew up in Mexico and Argentina—which manifests in the occasional bilingual track, but Divino Niño’s music influences also span from Beatles to Japanese pop. The band describes themselves as “sad bad boys”—their goal is to make music that makes people feel good, but sometimes this includes sexy lyrics that would make their mothers’ cringe.
Though the album is an easy listen, creating Foam was an arduous process—the band recorded in Medina’s home, starting with nearly 40 songs but winnowing the tracklist down to just ten. Medina jokes that he lost 7 pounds while recording, but the rigorous selection process ultimately led to a well-curated album—the songs that made the cut are tight and intentional. “I would like to say the album is minimal, but it’s not,” says Forero. “There are layers of layers of vocals and synthesizers. It feels almost like we’re doing a Queen song; our vocals have seven, ten, twenty tracks.”
Though the band jokes about writing a majority of the album while high or micro-dosing shrooms, according to Cordina the ideal listening environment is far less taboo: “an hour of sober meditation and tea.”
The full album doesn’t come out until June 21st, but if you can’t wait until then, Divino Niño is playing Thalia Hall tomorrow—if you’re in Chicago, pregame with a cup of Earl Grey and get ready for a blissed-out evening.