Guadalupe Plata 2011
Folc Records / Sociedad Fonográfica Subterránea, 2011
REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/20/2012
It is nowhere ostensible in Guadalupe Plata’s eponymously titled 2011 release that these boys from Ubeda, Spain are trying to create any sort of introspective, soulful laments stemming from some deep-rooted pain. But they play the blues like they own it and are possessed by it. Guadalupe Plata 2011 isn’t what one would call a traditional blues record, but it has that sort of quality; and although it is a modern take on an old form of music, it retains a lot of its elements and respects its purity.
While a typical modern day blues record like this one might not detour too far away from the music’s original form, Guadalupe Plata 2011 is anything but ordinary. The band has a punkish and a totally abrasive approach to their music. It almost follows in the footsteps of veteran indie acts like The White Stripes and PJ Harvey (during her Dry and Rid Of Me days), as it blends garage and grunge in a trippy concoction with blues. At the same time, the band can also be compared to The Black Keys, as both acts try to stay as true to the core blues sound as possible.
Guadalupe Plata 2011 has a sound that is anything but clean. It is deliberately grimy and shabby, like a Steve Albini-produced work. This trio doesn’t just play the blues – they belch out the blues. The music is brawny and raw, and the guitar is as loud as it could be, as it slides back and forth, playing the swampiest and grittiest blues. The song structures are most unpredictable, as a lot of the numbers are short instrumental jams. The ones that do have vocals have very little of them. The vocals are twisted, demented, and spooky, screaming with manic fervor. When they yell the lyrics – entirely in Spanish – they sound like curses spewing at the listener; to those that don’t understand the language, the vocals are fascinating.
Guadalupe Plata is a band with humor. These guys are like the Beastie Boys for blues music: intelligent musicians who like to have fun. They have a bunch of music videos out, all of which are funny and interesting, and actually do remind me of Beasties videos in terms of their quirkiness. The cream of the crop is a video posted on the band’s MySpace page, of the guys playing a seven-minute extended version of “Como Una Serpiente” live for an exotic dancer, as she gracefully performs her act from start to finish, which pretty much sums up Guadalupe Plata itself: naughty, sexy, and free of inhibitions.