Spanish Love Songs
Giant Sings the Blues
If punk-rock has always been raw, with all the brash vulnerability implied therein, then Spanish Love Songs may be the genre’s modern epitome. It’s not that Giant Sings the Blues, the LA-based band’s first full-length, is reckless or unrefined. Sure, sometimes singer Dylan Slocum’s voice squelches in agony; sometimes it dribbles onto the grumbling guitars, or gets kicked around by indignant drums, or collapses breathlessly onto a song’s final chord. But it’s not these stylistic maneuvers that make this record seem so raw.
Instead, it’s the song’s sentiments that are raw—and subsequently honest. Slocum confronts his demons throughout the record: Wasted ambitions, wasted love, wasted time, all in vignettes that, though sometimes depressing, also feel too familiar. On “Mexico,” Slocum sulks from the pews at a wedding, then at an emptying table at the reception. His lyrics paint a vivid, almost cringe-worthy picture of the story’s physical and emotional setting in the second verse: “I’m getting drunk alone after this wedding,” he sings, “in a room full of friends. / My date looks horrible with her lips painted red. / I don’t want to see my family. I just want to crawl back into bed. / And get called an asshole when I get lost in my head again.” These scenes become more desperate in Slocum’s voice, which totters through the bobbing guitars like he’s making his way to the open bar again. But this same voice becomes sadder on “Vermont,” and triumphant (in a twisted way) on “Bright Day” (and, by extension, “Brighter Day,” a rowdy, rerecorded version that appears on Wiretap’s extended release).
It’s not Slocum’s limber roar that makes Giant Sings the Blues a powerful punk record, then, or even the its guitars barking at the tantruming drums; instead, it’s the raw nerves revealed in these songs that remind us that we’re frail, imperfect, and human. (Dane Erbach)