Pure Rawk: Los Bengala "Incluso Festivos"
They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but some albums instantly give an impression of what to expect from their artwork. For example, the front cover of any Iron Maiden album with the marauding Eddie gives an immediate indication of the full on metal experience you can expect. Equally, something like Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles is full of life and colour, something that the album is hardly short on.
In many ways, Los Bengala sum up their sound in the front cover of Incluso Festivos with the image of a pair of leopard skin pants on a washing line – not the that band are in fact pants, but a sense of over the top fun and colour; a band who manage to combine a punk rock attitude with a big catchy pop sound.
As far as the lyrical content goes on Incluso Festivos, I could not tell you what it consists of. The album is entirely in Spanish, barring one song. However, the intonation suggests a sense of dirty rock’n’roll, with plenty of debauchery, and a sense of humour thrown in the mix. Their style is reminiscent of The Hives, although perhaps with the sleaze factor turned up, and touch of the classic punk influences of bands like The Ramones or New York Dolls thrown in.
Hi points include La Caza, which has a sort of redneck, almost cowpunk quality to it, while No Hay Amor Sin Dolor has a high energy surf rock vibe to it. Jodiamente Loco has a very sixties sound, and a uniqueness that makes it one of the best tracks on the album, although for me Máquina Infernal is the standout track due an incredibly catchy chorus and a great riff. Perfect Body is the only track in English, and if anything it takes away something from the song not having it in Spanish, but that’s a minor gripe.
Incluso Festivos is a great hidden gem of an album. Los Bengala are unlikely to become household names in this country due to the language barrier, but they have a great sound with terrific, catchy choruses (even though I can’t understand the lyrics), big hooks, and excellent riffs. There is a real summery quality to their music, and the Spanish twist that permeates every corner of this album is a welcome change of pace. A fantastic surprise, and a genuinely excellent album. 5/