Beat Generation, La Vida es un Mus, Spain
by Glòria Guso
After ten years playing together, with two albums and several singles in the market, Juanita y Los Feos come back with a collection of twelve angry punk anthems reunited under the name of their neighborhood in the suburbs of Spain’s capital. Loyal to their raw and unadorned style, Nueva Numancia is darker than all their previous releases, digging deeper into new wave sounds and with very apocalyptical lyrics. Both the current economic crisis in Europe, specially severe in Spain, and the band’s outsider status in the country’s musical scene can be the reason for this shift into more obscure atmospheres -making this album a very plausible portrait of this generation’s mood and a true contemporary punk jewel.
Lyrics like “si no tienes dinero, te quedas con la gente fea en el agujero” (“if you don’t have any money, you stay in the hole with the ugly people”) or “devora o serás comido” (“devour or you will be eaten”) build a very pessimistic picture of our world. Also prevalent is the violent reaction in songs about a hypothetical cannibalistic revolution or in uprising anthems like “Escupe en la tumba.” Nueva Numancia is not only about politics, there’s also room for romantic lamentations (“Me arrancaría los ojos”), introspection and sadness (“Nunca volverán,” “Noche más negra”), existentialist thoughts (“Vacío,” “No debería”), rage and vengeance (“Cien puñaladas”). Juanita y Los Feos owe their most striking particularity to Juanita’s voice. Her singing is the center of each and every song, not only is it as strong as any other instrument, but it’s also as the best way to deliver the angry message of the lyrics. Over a simple punk basis with squared drums, heavy bass line and tangled guitars, the voice track builds a counterpoint with the synth melodies.
Nueva Numancia is fast and nervous, almost hysteric with its twelve songs in half an hour. It is raw and rude, and immediate. This has been a collaborative release between Spanish label Beat Generation and La Vida es un Mus from London, UK (that also have Barcelona based Belgrado in its bands rooster, another band that militates in the most outsider DIY underground local scene). Nueva Numancia is, by far, Juanita y Los Feos’ best album to date. Perhaps not an instant classic, but it has its own character, both musical and lyrically, and could easily become the soundtrack of the current uncouth moment we are witnessing.