April 18, 2024

Melenas – “Dias Raros” – jangly garage-pop full of dreams and fun

TROUBLE IN MIND 8th May 2020

This album is the band’s first release on a non-Spanish label. Hailing from Pamplona, a town known for the spicier version of chorizo sausage and letting bulls chase the public down the street, the band have a rough and ready tang to them. Four years into their career, they have learnt pacing and songwriting but, happily, not lost a garage authenticity to their performance and have not over-arranged their songs. Instrumental parts are simple and the feel is real.

I’m liking the corny old fashioned keyboard organ sound, the steady, almost boring drum beat and the ramshackle harmony of Primer Tiempo (‘The First Time’), the single and first track. Atypically dropping in lots of keyboard instead of the usual twin guitars, it wrongfoots you in the right ways and has a Joe Meek sixties feel. Moving on, there is a double jangle of strummed guitars and delightfully untutored vocals and thankfully, the organ still features frequently, if not as prominently. This is pure garage rock meets DIY Indie. The mix is unsophisticated and like you’d get hearing them in a little venue – it carries the charm of the quartet in a sort of messy bag of sound. I’m picking up a vibe of the sort of thing the Cherry Red label used to put out; like The Marine Girls from the Eighties but hopped up on sun and fun. You might hear Broadcast in the vocal work or other female duos that have well-matched but not over-polished harmonies. Alongside the garage-pop there are strong tones of dreamy psychedelia and a feeling that the movers in the band like to laze some days with wandering thoughts and feelings.

I’m pleased that the album is almost entirely in Spanish. I don’t really care what the words mean in detail, I’m streaming the feel of the sound. Confident with speedy boppers, jangly indie, gentle dreams and insistent ballads, the band seem fully ready for this album yet determined to keep it sounding authentic and simple. I don’t know what is going on in Spain, but it is turning out independent female bands in an unprecedented way – Hinds, Me and The Bees, Melenas (and undoubtedly many the others I’ve missed).

Looking forward to a UK tour – please, please, please.

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