Bifo, in an attempt to track poetry’s role during the collapse of the global economy, (somewhat lazily) defines poetry as an excess of language, an excess that might lead us toward new paradigms, new possibilities (The Uprising, 2012). I think Bifo would extend this excess-driven theory to music and, more specifically, El Pardo’s music.
El Pardo, the Raúl-Querido-fronted project from Madrid, fuses political discourse with rough-and-tumble, stripped noise. The product is consistently stark, anarchic, and gut-wrenching. The songs are mini revolutions bursting with big claims, big ideas, big echoes of proto-Marxian theories that sustain a sort of terrifying heroism throughout the whole album.
The album in question is the band’s self-titled debut, which includes one of our most celebrated tracks of the year, “Las Clases Ociosas.” What “Las Clases Ociosas” does so well is that it lets the discourse do the talking. It’s not interested in abstracting the meaning, emphasizing the rhyme, championing a melody. It wants to rattle you and rattle you it does. The nine-minute droner “¡Son los 90!” is just as unsettling, though less “musical,” and “La Charla Final” gives it to you straight. One last push toward absolute anarchy.
We need bands like El Pardo. We need bands that are preoccupied with reality: the world is an awful, rotten place and we are sometimes powerless before it because it is designed to make us powerless. We don’t always need to dream or sing about utopias. Sometimes the prospect of actual upheaval and revolution are utopic enough.