Mama Vynila Records, Spain
by Carlos Reyes
As pop music writers, we should strike for broadcast vigilance. That is, to involve oneself beyond what’s presented. For better or for worst, those of us putting it in practice have become more seduced by structures, print commissions, and formats than by the actual songs that comprise unorthodox releases. And that’s okay. Sometimes songs are only suggestive paradigms of a larger cause. Shared artistic references carry a need for deeper assessment, especially when printed on something as amorous as a split vinyl.
Following the recent wax smackdowns of Kana Kapila vs. Los Claveles and Manos de Topo vs. Tarantula, two of Spain’s hottest emerging bands have co-signed on a split album that should rise above and beyond its novelty significance. Cacophonous divers Telephones Rouges and tropical punkers Piñata have come together not for the sole reason of splitting the costs of an album, but to share guardianship of a tiny scene, a label (Mama Vynila Records), and a band-to-band bromance. Through the premise of this release one could presuppose these are two bands hailing from the same tree, but it’s this same medium that allows both groups to grasp for identity and biosphere bonding.
Within a couple of spins of Max Split it’s easy to understand the success of this relationship. On one side, we have a band that strikes to be cerebral, even if swimming under nocturnal depth. On the other, there is a band that points to propulsion at any cause. Telephones Rouges is aptly smoky in the industrial punk opener “Gute Krankenheit” and then makes smart use of space by flipping the coin in the seemingly mournful, yet all-colorful “Ei Meu.” Piñata’s side (produced by Telephones Rouges’ Matias Unruh) is equally striving, sounding more teen-spirited than usual in a proper recording of rising hit “Tambourine” and the incredibly catchy “Cadillac.” In a weird way, Max Split is the venerated progression from a split gig to a split album. Beyond its well-crafted, catchy songs, this is a vinyl that breathes brotherhood and potential.