Amics/Enemics - Piñata
by Pierre Lestruhaut
After seeing David Bisbal perform “When a Man Loves a Woman” on Operación Triunfo, I really thought Spaniards couldn’t sing in English. Truth is, after Bigott, Cut Your Hair, and now Piñata—Barcelonan 5-piece band of raucously upbeat rock that could percolate the blogosphere without anyone being surprised that they’re actually not an indie rock band signed to a Williamsburg-based label—the unwritten rule that a Spaniard rock band is not supposed to sound like a Brooklyn rock band has been betrayed too often now. At times we would even forget Piñata actually sung in English—given their proclivity to effect anthemic 3-in-the-morning drunk-style howling—and were misled into believing, for a moment, that bearded drunk indie rock dudes just shout the same things in English, Spanish or Catalan.
First single “Mexican Machotes” was quintessential indie rock-inspired juvenile flare that, despite being able to draw immediate comparisons with compatriots Margarita’s tropical punk, also saw them juxtaposed with a variety of acts fitting in the spectrum of rollicking, buoyant guitar music that’s been made since 1977 in the English-speaking world. Then “Llampec” became the first signifier of their own Catalan origins, ‘cept if you believe the lyrics in Hao!Discos’ Bandcamp page. All they do is actually just shout “Bleeding teeth / I want to kill your faith / Llampec.” It’s a lyric that doesn’t really make any sense whatsoever, but as long as it elicits that raw feeling that makes you want to tear your shirt apart, grow a beard, and scream “Llampec,” this is still a Top 25 song of 2012 by any sort of calculation.
I could go on and waste the whole set of synonyms related to raucous, boisterous, and thunderous, as well as references to bands that sound like Surfer Blood and Japandroids in order to discuss their new songs. But the feeling about them seems to be that they don't really reach the height of the previously released ones, meaning that Piñata keeps a place in our hearts as more of a singles band. They remain one of Spain’s most promising acts, which they surprisingly achieved while sounding decidedly not Spaniard; but also one of the most overlooked as well, which probably happened for that same reason. One could diverge towards a reflection on what it means to be a geographically misplaced band these days, but in the end we all really just care about one thing. And that is: “Oh oh oh oh! Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah!”