RingMasterReview: Los Bengala "Incluso Festivos"
If it is released by Dirty Water Records it is going to be worth checking out. That is a theory we have bred over time which once again is proven to be spot on as Spanish duo Los Bengala turn the day into one of devilish festivity with debut album Incluso Festivos. Seeded in garage rock but embracing many more prime flavours of rock ‘n’ roll, the ten track encounter is a perpetual feast of sound and fun.
The list of inventive and thrilling duos is a growth industry in world rock, but there are some which just step out from the crowd to steal the show. Canada has The Black Frame Spectacle, the US has bred In The Whale, and now Europe has the mighty sounds and thrilling creative instincts of guitarist/vocalist Guillermo Sinnerman and drummer/vocalist Borja Tellez to drool over, and since being introduced to Incluso Festivos that is what we have been doing. Hailing from Zaragoza, Los Bengala is another tasty proposition emerging from the flourishing garage rock Latino scene. Last year saw the pair win a national battle of the bands competition in their home country and now have broader fields in their sight with Incluso Festivos which is co-released on their own imprint Wild Lion and Dirty Water Records, the latter spotting them playing a show last August in London with UK’s own garage punk geniuses The Mobbs.
The seeds of addiction are laid straight away through album opener La Caza, a minute and a half of rhythmic slavery. Tellez needs barely seconds to have ears and appetite gripped, his opening thuds soon a rolling jungle of rhythmic craft and incitement which just gets keener and more virulent with every rally. That alone would have left nothing less than lust behind but things only get better as the guitar of Sinnerman adds southern honed hooks and enterprise into the instrumental revelry. It is a scintillating anthemic start which is potently backed up by Sé A Dónde Voy. The band’s garage rock inspirations are ripe colouring in the jangle and eager energy spread by the song, its riffs and beats a persistent invitation for the Spanish sung lyrics to leave their expressive lures on.
No Hay Amor Sin Dolor has the scent of The Clash to its opening bait of guitar next, a spice which continues as Tellez springs another fresh dose of rhythmic tempting into the brewing mix. The song has a definite punk breeding to its r&b invention and tenacious stroll whilst revealing another shade and arm to the Los Bengala sound and imagination. It is diversity which continues in Jodidamente Loco, a track which jabs and roars its way into the psyche with a mix of noise punk and dirty rock ‘n’ roll twisted into contagion of steely guitar, badgering beats, and volatile vocals. The track is irresistible, a song taking an already high plateau to the album up another notch before Máquina Infernal keeps release and listener on the same high with Latin lures and sixties toned catchiness.
65 Días next seduces with a psychobilly/surf croon, its sweltering air and haunting balladry mesmeric even as it subsequently lifts its tempo and emotional discord within the dramatic landscape. Like Reverend Horton Heat in league with UK band Milton Star, the song is bewitching, and increasingly so with every listen, much as the album itself.
Things get hectic and scuzzier again with the brilliant Aaah, a riot which reminds of earlier mentioned In The Whale but revealing its own groove infested, rhythmically incendiary, and unique stomp. Rock music does not get much better than this, just finds new ways to match such glory just as the band does with the swinging devilment of Ataco. Arguably the most pure garage rock track on the album though its successor might have something to say about that, it just grabs body and energies in its contagion led grip to take the listener on a controlled but exhaustion inducing stroll.
Perfect Body is the only English sung offering on Incluso Festivos, a mischievous celebration and virulent romp flinging grooves, hooks, and rousing beats around like creative confetti. The sixties, seventies, and the now are all rolled up into its infection loaded alchemy, body and emotions the swift slave to its glorious tempting.
The album is close by the similarly sensational Abran Paso, a song which again shows glimpses of The Clash as well as others like The Jam and less so Queens Of The Stone Age, but emerges as its own fascinating and torrentially captivating protagonist. It is a mighty end to a majestic encounter, and another reason to understand why the guys at Dirty Water got excited when first seeing Los Bengala. Thanks to them we now have one exciting and invigorating release courting, nay demanding broader attention and quite honestly the bottom-line is that you and the world needs this album in a fulfilled rock ‘n’ roll life.
Festivos Incluso is available now via Wild Lion/Dirty Water Records on vinyl, CD, and digitally.