With existentialism and insecurity, comes a form of musical catharsis like no other in the punk scene. It’s clear that Spanish Love Songs have always dwelled in this nihilism and frustration, and their new release Brave Faces Everyone shows no sign of change. With 2018’s Schmaltz firmly cementing their place within the scene, Brave Faces Everyone takes on an awfully important role for the LA quintet to prove their worth.
Frontman Dylan Slocum is quite literally the forefront of this release. His painfully honest and raw vocal style can be found from the off, with opener ‘Routine Pain’ offering self-deprecation in all its glory. This self-doubtful tone is carried throughout, with personal tales of instability and depression being relayed in a witty, gut-punch style. ‘Losers’ and ‘Losers Pt.2’ perfectly portray this melancholic atmosphere, with Slocum spouting worries of money and independence in an angsty fashion.
It doesn’t take much to understand why ‘Kick’ was chosen as a single for this release. The multitude of sentiments delivered lyrically by Slocum is overwhelmingly hard-hitting, and when paired with such an effortlessly catchy chorus, it’s impossible to not embody the emotions conveyed.
Despite the scepticism, these guys take on a Menzingers-esque bounciness to their sound, offering a little optimism to take off the cynical edge. Even with the overwhelmingly melancholic tone, singles like ‘Self-Destruction (As A Sensible Career Choice)’ and ‘Generation Loss’ offer a melodic bop that feels somewhat joyful and positive among the painfully relatable lyricism.
This album offers no filter; a cut-throat ode to growing up, whether that be found through the mellowed anxiety of ‘Beach Front Property’, or the extremely vivid picture painted by Slocum in ‘Dolores’. His ability to sound like he’s close to tears is what makes this album hit so much harder. Whilst the liveliness found on Schmaltz has been toned down, the ambition and emotion has never been so strong.
Closing single ‘Brave Faces Everyone’ concludes with one final strike of defeat in the form of melodic punk.
Brimming with bleakness, this release takes on a much darker narrative than Schmaltz. However, their sound feels much more ambitious and striking than ever before. This band have the ability to present cynicism in such an effortlessly optimistic way. Painfully honest and full of passion, Spanish Love Songs are, without a doubt, a force to be reckoned with.
Brave Faces Everyone is out now via Pure Noise Records