Spanish Love Songs - Schmaltz
Review by Dom Vigil
The scariest yet most comforting feeling in the world is hearing an album for the first time and thinking, “Wow, this is me,” and for me, that record is Spanish Love Songs’ newest release, Schmaltz. By touching on incredibly personal subjects like depression, anxiety, guilt and the internal battle that comes along with struggling with these issues, Spanish Love Songs have created a painfully relatable and cathartic release.
Really setting the tone for Schmaltz is “Nuevo,” which starts off quiet and vulnerable, an ode to the underground music scene that brought bands like Spanish Love Songs to life. Lyrically, “Nuevo” is like looking in the mirror - from the shows in church basements, moshing and drinking Pabst, to growing up and finding your place at the back of the crowd, enjoying the the show from afar. While sonically, “Nuevo” is simplistic and quiet, it quickly gains speed, leading straight into the explosive, “Sequels, Remakes and Adaptations,” which allows the band to let loose and release those emotions in a really cathartic way.
Honestly, it’s impossible to choose a standout song on Schmaltz because each track is strong in its own way. “Buffalo Buffalo” is easily the catchiest song on the album, but “Bellyache” shines instrumentally, driven primarily by strong drums and bass. Songs like “Otis-Carl” are powerful due to the incredibly personal lyricism and stunning vocal work, meanwhile, the middle tracks, “The Boy Considers His Haircut” and “El Niño Considers His Failures” find vocalist Dylan Slocum struggling to find self-acceptance and happiness without worrying about the opinions of others - something that many will find relatable. These emotions really come to a head on “Beer & Nyquil (Hold It Together),” which is explosive and frustrated - it’s about trying to keep your head above water and struggling to get your shit together. Not only is it easily the most aggressive song on the album, but it’s also very transparent and relatable.
Schmaltz is heavy emotionally, but it’s something that Spanish Love Songs not only needed to write right now, it’s also something that many listeners will find comfort in hearing. Spanish Love Songs have accomplished the difficult and daunting task of writing and recording a collection of very raw and vulnerable songs that people will still be able to relate to, and it’s because they’re saying the ugly, honest shit that nobody will say out loud but we all feel. These songs are the perfect soundtrack for any disenchanted twenty or thirty something who grew up playing in bands or involved in the music scene and isn’t quite sure where they’re headed in life, and they remind you that it’s okay to not be okay.
LISTEN TO: The entire album.
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