Cantan En Espanol - Wau Y Los Arrrghs!!! (Voodoo Rhythm)
More weird and wonderful garage grunt from Swiss label Voodoo Rhythm, this time from a Spanish five-piece combo making their long-player debut.
The album title means "They Sing in Spanish" and (funnily enough) that's what these guys do. If your multi-lingual abilities are as thin as mine, that might be a barrier, but drop your preconceptions. You may have no idea what they're banging on about but, believe me, that doesn't matter a jot if you like your rock and roll rough and demented.
Those who know best say Spain is THE home of rough-hewn rock and roll these days and Wau Y Los Arrrghs!!! deserve a place at any table where the wine list includes flagons of reverb-laden skronk. The organ-guitar-bass-drums configuration is familiar but the Waus lay bratty vocals and a clean, surf guitar sound atop a cavernous bottom end that sets them apart from the de rigeur fuzz tones.
I had a stab at translating the titles of the handful of covers I recognised and either Babelfish is a crock of shit or these boys are throwing us a curve ball with some creative titling. "Rey de Tablistas" ("King of the Surf") is on the money and fairly faithful in its treatment of that classic, but "I've Been Thinking" (originally by US no-hit wonders Paul Bearer & The Hearsemen) and "I Wanna Come Back From the World of LSD" (by the Fe-Fi-Four Plus 2, if you want to win some bets) are re-christened. Doesn't matter what they're called, because they both sound brutalized in the hands of these inspired Spaniards and are proof you can't keep a good '60s punker down.
The originals chart a similar course and neither aim for, or achieve, any semblance of subtlety. Frankly, they pale against the standard of those three fearsome cover tunes but most bands' own output would. It's a fair bet they'll grow in stature with more listens. The singer (I gave up trying to work out his name) is expressive in a washed-out, reverb way and the guitarist knows his way around a fretboard. The whole shebang sounds like the Trashmen and the Sonics pigging out on paella at a sangria party.
Call me a burned-out and cynical flack, but I usually pay lip service to the hyperbolic one-sheets that accompany most albums. In this instance, the rave comes from a Dutch garage fest promoter who lays on a yarn about a road-weary bunch of Spaniards ingesting and inhaling any substance in sight after a 14-hour drive to the gig, and then absolutely laying the crowd out with a sweat-drenched set that was inspiring enough to win them their record deal. In this case, the story may just be true. Wau Y Lo Arrrghs!!! are a cut above most of their competition.
Lo-fi is fun but Voodoo Rhythm sometimes pushes the envelope a little too far in their pursuit of "records to ruin any party". More often than not, though, they come up with the goods. In their finest traditions, this one's a keeper.