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Buscabulla | Regresa

The Puerto Rican pair's thoughtful, stylish debut lives up to the advance hype.

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Hype isn’t always a bad thing. Take this debut album from Buscabulla. There’s been plenty of anticipation for this disc from Puerto Rican ex-pat musical and romantic partners Raquel Berríos and Luis Alfredo Del Valle, thanks in no small part to some cool early singles/videos and plenty of promotion. Thankfully, it wasn’t all just smoke and mirrors — recorded after they returned to their birthplace, the tellingly titled and thoughtful Regressa lives up to its advance billing. As they smartly and stylishly walk a line between contradictory worlds and influences — tradition and innovation, joy and sorrow, introspection and flashiness, earthiness and breeze, grooves and grooviness, to name just a few pairings — Berrios and Del Valle end up finding and founding their own musical motherland somewhere in the middle of it all. And here’s a little bonus: You can definitely dance to its theme song. Make yourself at home.

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Like generations of Puerto Ricans before them, Raquel Berríos and Luis Alfredo Del Valle of experimental pop duo Buscabulla moved to the mainland United States to hustle for their dreams, but a longing for their island ran deep, never escaping their thoughts during the decade they resided there. After Hurricane María, the band moved home to Puerto Rico from Brooklyn to help rebuild the community, raise their daughter, and record their debut full length album. Regresa was recorded in its entirety in Raquel and Luis Alfredo’s home studio in Puerto Rico, and is an emotional roller coaster in which they face and ponder the issues affecting them and Puerto Rican society at large: the frustration at the lack of opportunities for locals while tax breaks lure rich investors, self-doubt and anxiety, even the rise of religious fanaticism. Full of angst and an underlying sense of loss, Regresa — which means “return” or “to come back” — is a bittersweet, introspective, eye-opening journey. “The album reflects the joys of being back but it’s also melancholic,” says Raquel. “You feel like a stranger in your own home because the island is going through very hard, weird times. Most people our age have fled. We have also changed after being away for so long.” Buscabulla ultimately calls for self-reflection, awakening and perseverance in the midst of an uncertain future. Says Raquel, “Regresa is about self-acceptance of oneself with all our imperfections, and the acceptance of coming back home, with all its flaws.”