It seems like Hinds have kicked the door open for Spanish garage rock. Following head-turning appearances in the U.S. and Europe, the Madrid foursome released their highly anticipated debut Leave Me Alone to rave reviews, and garage fans have since turned their attention to the Iberian peninsula for more carefree lo-fi tunes.
There are plenty of options for those looking for garage sounds in the Spanish-speaking world; it’s fertile ground for the genre, with hotbeds in Costa Rica, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. But those looking for the ideal candidate to deliver slacker guitar music should look no further than the scene brewing in Spain.
The Parrots are close in spirit to Hinds; they’re a party-ready trio of carefree young men who are more concerned with stocking beer than learning new chords. But what sets The Parrots apart is their commitment to playing the kind of straightforward rock ‘n’ roll that made the genre a revolutionary art form in the first place. After many EPs, they continue this quest on their long-awaited debut full-length.
Los Niños Sin Miedo is raw and dirty, and a fine showing for a band that’s firing on all cylinders. The Parrots might not break into a hardcore tempo or a noise jam in the middle of a track, but they do hint at scuzziness with unkempt and wonderfully unpolished performances. It’s still pop music, though – full of simple and memorable riffs, groovy tempos, and gravel-road vocals. The grime is in the details here.
“Too High To Die” begins in a fairly danceable fashion, complete with a clap-along beat. Blues and 50s R&B make up the foundation for the song to kick off, and here it sounds fresh; you can tell they were having a ball tracking the record. “Let’s Do It Again” is an obvious single, rousing and unpretentious, inviting repeated listens. “No Me Gustas, Te Quiero” pits verses in English against a Spanish-language chorus, and the contrast finds The Parrots at their most impressive, showcasing their unabashedly Spanish take on the genre. At times they recall OG garage icons Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, Peru’s Los Saicos, and Mexico’s Three Souls In My Mind, to name a few. Sure, these legends approach garage with a knee at the altar of The Rolling Stones, but the flavor of the songs remains distinctive, even though these artists are separated by decades.
Most of the songs presented here are winners; there are hardly any fillers, and even some unexpected turns in mood. “Casper” and “The Road That Brings You Home” might find vocalist Diego García howling in his usual way, but the chords and tempo suggest sweeter settings, contrasting with fiercer moments like “E.A. Pressly” and “Windows 98.”
Los Niños Sin Miedo is a reminder of the power that rock music can have when it’s stripped down and played with heart and attitude. The record might even kick the door open a little wider for other garage outfits from Spain and Latin America to roam the world.
Los Niños Sin Miedo is available on Heavenly Recordings now. Catch The Parrots at Festival WACO 2016 on November 5, 2016.