DS Review: Spanish Love Songs – ‘No Joy’

It’s been a good while since Spanish Love Songs released new music. Sure, they did release the EP Doom & Gloom, four songs they covered on their Patreon, during the pandemic. But now they are back with a follow-up – maybe a strong word to use, but to 2020’s Brave Faces Everyone, which, let’s be honest, left us all as emotional wrecks from having it on repeat for an entire year.

So, the lingering question that still stands… What about No Joy? Is it as heartbreaking as we’ve experienced with the other albums? Well, read on.

“Do you remember the look on my face when you told me you wanted to die?” Dylan Slocum sombrely sings during the bridge in “Middle of Nine”, one of the songs that Slocum wrote to his grandma. The sad and soft guitars accompany Slocum’s gentle deliverance until we hit the song’s bridge. A few lines in this song make it genuinely outstanding yet a different kind of heartbreaking.

Here’s a sweet video before you dive into the rest of the review.

“What other song was written for Slocum’s grandma?” – Well, my dears. None other than “Pendulum” – we’ve all heard it. A song that has managed to blend synths and guitar riffs in perfect harmony with unforgettable lyrics.

I mean, there will always be some hits and misses on any album, and for me, the miss was “Rapture Chaser.” Before you all come at me in the comment section…IT’S A GREAT SONG. It has some moments where it shines with catchy bars and beautifully written lyrics, such as, and I can’t believe how relatable this line “Your heart will never be full, so don’t waste your grief on fools” was until I heard the song. Yes, I may have read the lyrics before listening to the album.

“Mutable” – something about the song makes me like it; it’s sweet and straightforward. And there’s nothing wrong with that, in my opinion. It’s what gives its charm. “Here You Are” has this excellent acoustic guitar opening before the drums come in, and for some reason, I consider it a love song, but only because of one specific line that piqued my interest. Which is “Wish I could live my life until I got it right.”, something most of us might relate to. The fear of not living our truths, whatever that means to each of us. But indeed, we will always go out with a few regrets.

So, back to the question I started us off with. Is it as heartbreaking as we’ve experienced with the other albums? Yes and no. Despite the album being called No Joy, there are glimmers of hope, but there’s also the realization that people can’t do everything. And you hear that realization in “I’m Gonna Miss Everything” and that’s life. But the truly heartbreaking moment comes when Slocum delivers a throwback to “Middle of Nine” with the following lyrics “I can’t remember the look on your face when I told you that I might want to die.”

The vulnerable and, once again, honest lyrics Slocum brings to the table are only here because of the rest of the band. Meredith Van Woert on keyboards, Kyle McAulay on guitar, Trevor Dietrich on bass, and Ruben Duarte on drums set each song’s atmosphere and overall vibe. But I don’t know about you, dear reader, but after they released ‘Haunted’ in May, I hoped that this new sound with synths and, in some ways, a bit more upbeat guitars would continue. Also, if you get the vibes of The Killers in the music, embrace it.

Recommended songs: Middle of Nine, Exit Bags, Lifers


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