Is the soundtrack of a dystopia that mutates into reality,
Resulting in an illustrative present,
which at first sight, lacks an expiry date.
By Jesus Úbeda
The songwriter sets the tone with eleven songs that create an ecosystem such as the one in Huxley from Orwell’s Brave New World in 1984, or from a musical stand point - Bowie’s Diamond Dogs. However, instead of appealing to a fable, the songwriter sings based on what he sees, reads and lives.
This is not the first time Bunbury seems critical of our society. In his thirty years plus span of musical biography, he has fitted and raised forefront, intellect and life to Rock En Español. As a solo artist or with Héroes Del Silencio, and El Gran Mutante, he has delivered anthems such as as “Deshacer el Mundo”, “Mundo Feliz”, “Anidando Liendres” , “Todos Lo Haremos Mejor" and “En El Futuro”. His previous studio album, Palosanto, was a multi-faceted view of an effervescent moment of social change, passionate and in some cases hopeful. Expectativas is the logical follow up to this record. It turns out that next day’s stage hasn’t been revealed as better, and: “ The hand that feeds you / is the hand that hits you”, adding in “El Filo del Cuchillo” (The Edge of The Knife); “They try to pluck our wings away / as if we were in a casino in Las Vegas”. In “Parecemos Tontos” (We Seem Like Fools) the man that lives in today’s world has been corrupted, degraded, homogenized and definitely alienated.
ABOUT THE ALBUM:
“Expectativas” is divided in two parts. In the first six songs, we find a Bunbury who shakes, points and shoots at will at mediocrity, idiocy, siblicide and crime. In the second part, with the remaining five pieces, the “I” rises as a main character and distils authority, not authoritarianism- a big difference, rebelliousness and even offers comfort - “The Constant” (La Constante)-. This album, produced by Bunbury himself and recorded with Los Santos Inocentes, plus the exquisite saxophone of Santiago del Campo, former member of Los Especialistas-, sounds blunt, elegant, and gloomy. It may be the most overwhelming album from the Spaniard songwriter to date, escaping the traditional routes and offering sound that better resembles a roar. In Expectativas, Bunbury intensifies the sound used in his previous album “Palosanto” and offers us a synthesizer buffet from the 70s and 80s, that includes the mini Moog, the Prophet and the Juno 60, mellotron, resulting in distorted and subtle guitars, and assertive and aggressive rhythms.
ABOUT THE TWO FIRST SONGS:
“La actitud correcta” (The Correct Attitude) is a satiric cannonball to the presumably good citizen, to the low key, uniformed, gray and short guy, and poor fellow: “You are missing that I don’t know what / that I don’t know what it is / and it’s the only thing that matters”. Bunbury takes advantage and drags this critic to the music: “You mention groups that are in fashion/ your new album will be a hit, more guitar and more synthesizer / I’m sure it will be playing the same song”.
Without being harmless, “Parecemos tontos” (We seem like fools) puts the musical tornado at ease. It sounds intimate, nocturnal, as if it was sung from a polluted river’s shore. Despite the bad guys managing to put “water puppets adrift”, hope surfaces: “They won’t be able to fool all of us / even though we appear to be fools”.This first part of the album concludes with “common places, made phrases, catchy and even dance to tunes, with a musical tint that reminds us of Reflektor from Arcade Fire, and without traces of mercy towards the absolute thought. – “Listen to everyone / repeat the same opinion / read in the press” and lynching- “We lapidate because we feel entitled to / it the toilet water chain as a revelation”.