Argovia: ‘Who We Are’ Review

The album artwork for Who We Are

Musical algorithms are tricky business. Sometimes spot on, sometimes terribly off-base, I’m always hesitant when a new artist shows up on a daily mix or otherwise familiar and beloved streaming playlist. As such, my hackles were raised when the new album from Argovia, entitled Who We Are, randomly popped up on my musical radar. Happily, however, the album quickly won me over with its catchy chorus lines, prog-leaning sensibilities and sheer vibes. Another win for the almighty algorithm. Still, it left me wondering “Who is this band and why haven’t I heard from them sooner?” More on that below. 

Hailing from Venezuela by way of Colombia, Argovia was founded by frontwoman Ani Guillen and keyboardist Carlos Arminio in 2013. The sophomore release from the group, Who We Are features a sextet of tracks that nary go over six minutes in length. The album clocks in at just over 30 minutes, yet remains satisfying and vibey throughout. Argovia describes their sound as “rock with prog influences,” and delivers on both fronts, though they stopped short of the metal elements hinted at on their Bandcamp page. Instead, we are treated to a sampling of hard rock, alternative, and even indie influences in a format that ranges from big anthemic choruses, to jangly guitar work, to sizzling distorted synth leads. And all in less than 31 minutes!

Getting into the album, I found myself immediately hooked on the big, sweeping melodies of the opener, Oceanborn. Infectiously easy to sing along to, the mid-tempo jam that opens with airy, soft guitar passages reminiscent of millennial Iron Maiden, before moving into a progressive-flavored alt rock style for the remainder of the song. Erring on the side of hard rock, the track features an amazing groove supported by lush keyboard sections and a seriously thumping drumbeat. Claiming its space without overstaying its welcome, Oceanborn is a highlight of the album and sets high expectations for the rest of the experience. I can see this quickly becoming a fan favourite in a live setting as well, both for its anthemic chorus section and its driving momentum.

Speaking of fan favourites, while listening I found myself struck by how distinct each song sounds from one another. While this quality occasionally led to a sense of tonal whiplash from one track to the next, it nonetheless helps to weave a rich tapestry of unique and seriously groovy melodies. Truly, if nothing else, Argovia have succeeded in making one of the grooviest rock albums I’ve heard so far this year. With tracks like The Devil You Are (another highlight), I found myself wanting to dance around in my headphones to the high-energy chorus section, while the long instrumental jam near the end of the song had me nodding along enthusiastically and getting some odd looks from folks around me in the process. Their loss.

In fact, the strength of the instrumental “jams” on the album may be both my favourite aspect, as well as my biggest source of criticism. Later songs on the album feature intricately layered sections of powerful drumming mixed with textural organ swells that harmonize perfectly with Ani’s smoky-smooth vocal lines. This combination leads to incredibly satisfying prog rock moments that channel the likes of Leprous at times, Steven Wilson at others. Still, I often found myself getting to the end of a track and thinking “Wait, that’s it? I could have listened to at least another few minutes of that!” Considering the aforementioned 31(ish) minute length for the album, I would have loved to see what the band could pull off with additional time to let their chops shine. All the same, better to be left hungry for more than bored to tears by hours of musical self-indulgence. 

Lyrically, each track felt very grounded in the realm of relationships–both to others, and to self. The opening “Oceanborn” track speaks to themes of reassurance and actualization, while the title track and others like “Barefoot” speak to interpersonal relationships, whether platonic or very much otherwise. By no means a concept album, Who We Are continues to be extremely approachable yet refined on the lyrical front, just as it is musically.

As I finished my initial listen to the album, closing with the uber-emotive “Crawling is the Shape of Love,” I was once again surprised at how quickly the time had flown by and how much I was able to vibe with this album, this band I had previously never heard of. I was certainly wanting more, but that just gave me something to look forward to next time around. You win this round, algorithm.

You can find Argovia online at, and on Bandcamp at

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