Album Review: Spanish Love Songs - 'Brave Faces, Everyone'

26 February 2020 | 1:39 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

A poignant, passion-filled indie punk record.

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Spanish Love Songs are a band who I’ve heard a lot of noise and praise about over the past several months, with their signing to Pure Noise Records and especially with the release of their latest album, 'Brave Faces, Everyone.' Personally, this was my first time really checking out the band’s music, and a very good first impression has been left upon me.

The album begins with the powerful nature of 'Routine Pain,' which lays down the tone and foreshadows what’s to come on the rest of the record, bringing catchy compositions to the forefront through the passionate vocals of frontman Dylan Slocum and the bands killer instrumental performances. The first chorus and more energetic second verse, in particular, show off these performances the best, and Dylan's vocals really shine in the bridge, which is a bit more laid back at first before building up to a harder-hitting ending. The titular 'Brave Faces, Everyone' closes things out in a similarly strong manner, bringing with it some of the most high-octane and impressive drumming takes off the album.

One main thing I loved about this album was the vocal performances. While those two aforementioned tracks are great examples of the amount of passion found in these performances, there are many other moments throughout the record where Dylan's vocals stand out, from the beginning of the first verse to the energized 'Generation Loss,' over to the bridge of the very upbeat and catchy 'Self-Destruction (As A Sensible Career Choice)' and the anthemic chorus in the kick-ass single, 'Kick.' Speaking of which - another single on here, 'Losers' - brings one of the best choruses on the album to the boil, with the line “it gets harder, doesn’t it?” at the very end of that section being stuck in my head from the very first listen. 

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The beginning of that particular chorus references a “bleak mind,” and that lyric is a perfect description of the lyricism to this album. They’re bleak, but they’re straight to the point and clearly convey the bands message. A major lyrical topic is debt and financial hardships, with many examples scattered throughout the record. From “All I have are missed bank payments” and “But I can't eat off this paycheck” lifted off “Self Destruction (As A Sensible Career Choice).” This is an album about disparity and in some ways, class-warfare; blue-collar working punks just trying to get by. “What would it take to be happy?/I'll probably start with the money” is hopefully belted out on 'Optimism (As A Radical Life Choice)'; “you know damn well there ain't a promised land/the cost of living means it costs to stay alive” is a crushing sentiment expressed by 'Losers, Pt. 2'; and “Running through jobs I’m gonna hate/Living paycheck to paycheck” from 'Brave Faces, Everyone' highlights the stark, crushing day-job reality for many.  

All of these songs bring high levels of vigor aplenty to what is a consistently melodic, super-charged and honest punk rock record. But there are slower moments present where the band switches things up in regards to tempo and reign the listener into the stories these tracks paint. 'Beach Front Property' brings softer vocals in the verses before the song builds right up to its own down-right huge and hard-hitting chorus, whereas 'Optimism' begins acoustically and has similar dynamics between its verses and choruses, guiding your hand through this grim but ever so slightly hopeful world. And on 'Dolores,' easily the main slow-jam song of the album, delivers one of the most emotionally-heavy sentiments and vocal performances of anything found on Spanish Love Songs' latest. 

One of the main things I’ve heard other people say about this record is just how damn impressed they were by it, and I couldn’t agree more with that assessment. That’s exactly how I felt about it from the first time I heard it, and with each repeated listen, it never fails to impress me all over again. With 'Brave Faces, Everyone,' Spanish Love Songs have crafted a brilliantly authentic punk rock record with a deep amount of heart and passion behind it; resulting in a gripping, highly memorable new LP about debt and life-long pessimism waging a full-blown war with beneath-the-surface optimism and barely getting by. 

  1. Routine Pain
  2. Self-Destruction (As A Sensible Career Choice)
  3. Generation Loss
  4. Kick
  5. Beach Front Property
  6. Losers
  7. Optimism (As A Radical Life Choice)
  8. Losers, Pt. 2
  9. Dolores
  10. Brave Faces, Everyone

'Brave Faces, Everyone' is out now: