Spanish Love Songs
Schmaltz


4.5
superb

Review

by Soupy USER (7 Reviews)
April 6th, 2018 | 52 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I've done nothing the past ten years...

Spanish Love Songs are a 5-piece band from LA, filled with members approaching their thirties - the majority of which have spent the best part of a decade honing their craft on the local basement circuit. After a whole host of failed musical ventures, Spanish Love Songs perhaps represented a last shot at achieving the dream for everyone involved. Their debut album "Giant Sings The Blues" was enough to get them signed to Uncle M, as well as a tour to Europe, which helped them stumble onto Anti Flag's A-F Record label for EU releases.

In an interview with Punk Rock Theory, Dylan Slocum, lead singer and guitarist for Spanish Love Songs, described his band as "The unloved, not quite as cool bastard child of Jawbreaker and Hot Water Music if they had drunk break-up sex". If you're a fan of The Menzingers, Joyce Manor and The Wonder Years - I think you'll absolutely love this band.

If you Google "Spanish Love Songs" - you'll be greeted by a vast array of tracks by the likes of Enrique Iglesias and Jennifer Lopez, who sing about lusting after and loving others. Dylan Slocum does not sing about love and lust, but instead about the lost love that comes with a failed marriage and family members passing away. His often depressing lyrics are also incredibly self-deprecating throughout, with his abrasively blunt style to writing being reminiscent of Jeremy Bolm of Touche Amore as he delivers one of the best lyrical displays of the entire year so far.

The obvious comparison for this band is The Menzingers and 'Sequels, Remakes & Adaptations' is a fast-paced short track that you can't hear without thinking of the Pennsylvania Quartet, as Slocum and his band burst out after a slow tempo and strip backed opener in 'Nuevo'. 'Bellyache' which follows would not have looked out of place on 'After The Party' and the accomplished song writing transcends the bars and basements that this band frequent. As the melodic punk-rock anthem comes to a grand finale, Slocum proclaims "I don't think I could fix this if I found God. There's no drug in the world that could possibly wash this off".

'Buffalo Buffalo' kicks off with guitar tones that will remind pop-punk fans of 'The Upsides', but with a rougher production and a rawer vocal approach - this has the maturity and self-awareness of The Wonder Years' more recent material. 'Otis/Carl', is a song named for Slocum's Otis Redding-loving late Grandfather, who incidentally is the man that features on the album artwork. Dylan sings about his struggle to cope with the loss, "I'm on the docks again. Looking out at that awful ocean, watching the tide take you away... I hope you remember that I named my guitar after your favourite singer", yet despite its heavy subject matter you could still hear the words being shouted back at Slocum in a beer-soaked Burbank basement.

'Joana, In Five Acts', the album's lead single, is another track that dwells on the loss of a loved one, with Slocum and his band mate's delivering the stand-out performance of the record. As they build towards the crushing climax, Dylan repeatedly asks "Why'd you leave without me" before reaching breaking point and bellowing "SO WHY'D YOU GO" at the top of his lungs.

'It's Not Interesting' is actually one of the most interesting songs on the record, with the end of the song being reminiscent of "I Just Want To Sell Out My Funeral" as towards the end of the song, Slocum's lines of self-doubt and anguish from previous tracks are combined in a manic montage with "I don't think I could fix this if I could find God" especially hitting home. The album's closer, 'Aloha To No One', sees the record come full circle as it's another stripped back acoustic number, with one line from Slocum epitomizing every aging underground punk musician that's still desperately trying to make it - "pushing 30, still playing house shows, waking up on beer soaked floors all alone... hoping we take it further this time".

To someone from the UK like me, when American punk-rock bands like The Menzingers, Modern Baseball and The Wonder Years nostalgically talk about playing basement and house shows it paints a vivid and warming, almost romantic picture in my head - but on this record, Slocum reveals the frustrations and disappointment that can come when you fail to get your big break out of it like the aforementioned bands have managed. But that frustration, that absolute desperation to finally succeed that seeps out of Dylan Slocum on ‘Shmaltz’ has helped shape the record that might well see them take it further this time.



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user ratings (313)
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
Atari STAFF (5)
Like walking backwards, these wasted years...

stasar (4.5)
Life ages faster than you do....



Comments:Add a Comment 
MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
April 7th 2018


13397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Not a bad review. The Menzinger comparisons seem very very prominent with this group, which can be both a selling point and criticism--do they take too much for them? How similar are they, exactly? I haven't heard Menzingers personally, but the way you frame this album, it sounds as though this band borrows heavily from them. Doesn't really intrigue me so much as wonder if this band had much originality in what they did.

Soupy
April 7th 2018


46 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I think the similarities are definitely there, but overall they probably lean closer to a pop punk sound sonically than The Menzingers ever have. There are moments when his vocals are similar to Greg’s, but then at times he adopts a rougher and heavier style that is different, with the two acoustic songs also offering something else. I think part of it might be I don’t have a huge amount of reference points to the proper punkier side - I didn’t want to touch on Hot Water Music too much for example, as I’ve only really listened to two of their albums.

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
April 7th 2018


13397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I gotcha. Might swing by this sometime and judge for myself.

mortifierftw
April 16th 2018


320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is some good shit, makes me sad considering my band almost opened for them but they cancelled the gig

Soupy
April 17th 2018


46 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

That sucks! Hoping they get over to the UK ASAP.

daniam
April 17th 2018


6 Comments


Menzingers comparisons are inevitable here but I actually think that if I heard these guys first I'd probably like them more... Great album

Deathconscious
April 17th 2018


26760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i dont think these guys sound as much like the Menzingers as people are saying. they share the same genre but other than that i dont see many similarities. their singer's voice has a slight resemblance to Greg at times i guess.

Soupy
April 18th 2018


46 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Dope to see the 4.5 rating still going strong!

mortifierftw
April 18th 2018


320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Id love to see this album get on the 2018 charts

mortifierftw
April 18th 2018


320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Id love to see this album get on the 2018 charts

mortifierftw
April 18th 2018


320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Gotta love it when you accidentally post the same comment twice and Sputnik won't let you delete it for some reason

tom79
April 19th 2018


3891 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

These guys are really solid but the self deprecation can be a bit much for me. I know it's heartfelt and honest, and there is some optimism, but I just can't see myself coming back to it much. Similar to how I think The Future is Cancelled is a great album but don't listen to it that much for the same reasons. That's just a personal and more recent thing for me though, the songs sound good and I'm surprised I haven't heard of them before. The closer fucking wrecked me.

Digging: MJ Lenderman - Boat Songs

Soupy
April 19th 2018


46 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I can definitely see why someone would feel that way about it. It wasn't until I listened intently and read all of the lyrics whilst prepping for my review that it hit me how downbeat it really was. I think the parallels with After The Party thematically in regards to coming to terms with approaching/into your 30's are there, but the big difference is that at the time of writing, Greg is a guy in a happy relationship with a loving family and a reasonably successful band touring the world, whilst Dylan's spent the same kinda time-frame of his life never getting a big break with his marriage going down the toilet.



I hope that this record can do some good things for the band and help the guy feel better, as I think the next album being more upbeat would be a really cool contrast to this.

Poxy
April 20th 2018


158 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Gonna check this out

Papa Universe
April 29th 2018


22505 Comments


good god damn, this is fantastic

Deathconscious
April 29th 2018


26760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

weird, not something i would have thought you would dig.

Papa Universe
April 29th 2018


22505 Comments


dunno why, it just clicked.

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
May 8th 2018


4448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

buffalo buffalo is so fantastic

Digging: Dream Dolphin - Dolphins Talk to You

dremusmann
May 9th 2018


3 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah this review nailed it.

Poxy
May 9th 2018


158 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This album really hits me, it's incredible.



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