By Kenny McMurtrie
December 12, 2012
As the releases from Barcelona’s BCore have built up since the last time we reported on them here’s a brief commentary on what they’ve put out in the last few months.
First off come a band who’d probably get stick for their name if they were from the UK– Prats. Given the high quality of their songs and the pedigree of the four members though they can no doubt shrug off any jests on that score. Theirs is a very seductive record; the sort you think you’ve not been properly attending to just as you realise that you’ve been enjoying it all along.
Pla B starts with the lugubrious ‘Sookie’. No idea if it references True Blood at any point as my knowledge of Catalan is as minimal as ever but the roughly silken nature of singer Marc Prats’ voice draws the listener in to the mid-tempo habitat conjured up by his bandmates. No song ever gets up a great head of steam; ‘Vols I Dols’ is a particularly laidback slice of Air-like pop, yet they manage to never cross the line into mawkishness and the music never becomes twee. Track five, ‘Flamants Amants’, has a pleasing number of layers within layers in its mildly psychedelic ending and then the tempo changes with the album’s closest song to outright rock – ‘Bestia Somrient’, showing the band can pound the drums and turn up the guitars when the mood takes them. Throughout the course of the nine songs though it is that voice of Prats’ that constantly washes over you, becoming the binding force of the whole work in much the same way as, say, Leonard Cohen’s does on his output.
A complete change of pace with album number two as The Pennycocks deliver 13 tracks (17 on the cd) of straight up ‘70s punk and ska on Do It Cock. Things get off to a rather derivative start on ‘Down The Underground’ and only fitfully rise above that level over the course of the rest of the album. For a dedicated audience, starved of original bands of the period referenced (plenty of them still seem to be making the rounds) or better modern adherents, these guys probably make for an entertaining live experience but on record they largely fail to grab you. The back of the throat, strangulated vocals are one of the main problems (‘Burning Down My Youth’ and ‘Obsession Girl’ stand out as two of the better tunes mainly because the singing on them is far clearer). Sorting that out could maybe see the band going on to bring out a more memorable second album.
Lastly the musical style completely changes once again as Jupiter Lion give us their self-titled debut album. These three guys (DJs Sais & Gonzo and Jose Guerrero out of Betunizer) are a revelation and deserve to achieve big things in 2013. The six tracks on this release encompass a number of differing styles of danceable rock or whatever you like to call it. They also do spacey, elongated stadium-sized freak outs pretty well too (see opener ‘Silver Constellation’ once it gets into its stride). Fans of Kraftwerk, Stereolab (see ‘Black Mouth’) or Tangerine Dream (‘Krokodil’) will have more than enough to get their teeth into over the course of the album’s 30+ minutes running time. Definitely one of the finds of the latter half of the year.