Semana Fantastica, Los Lagos de Hinault


Independiente, Spain
Rating: 70
By Carlos Reyes

“There’s nothing better than La Oreja de Van Gogh.” I sure remember that time when it was a pleasure to hear La Oreja de Van Gogh on mainstream radio (El Viaje de Copperpot was pretty good), the charm is entirely gone but the band left a mark in Spain’s pop and now the newcomers Los Lagos de Hinault formulate a sign of the times in their song “Las Chicas Rubias de Serrano.” This is the project of Carlos Yndurain and Matilde Tresca, two nostalgic souls from Madrid in hope of melodic response through Semana Fantastic, a safe but quite generous pop gala which struggles to command its anthem-like lyrics but manages to sound fresh somehow.

Semana Fantastica plays around subtle grounds but never really fall into sounding cute and they don’t sound like risk-takers either, as of this moment they stand on middling ground. Perhaps a transitional phase, but their limitations rise up on parallel timing as their virtues; these are songs extremely easy to chew and fully visible to the eye, it’s like there’s too much light on them to be wanted but yet wise enough to realize it. Trying to make sense of this weakness should make them sum up more layers to their tracks (a la Klaus & Kinski), but instead they’re sticking to it, and that’s a virtue of its own. “El Correo de Azar” gets everything right, sounds very electro domestic, accurately considering its attempt to deal with a marital dilemma. Not as dramatic and juicy as those classics from Pimpinela but very effective pieces nonetheless.

It’s too early to fit them a genre, but they do establish a mood of harmless pop that would suit Elefant Records perfectly. In “Leandro de Borbon” they step out of such sound and opt to sound more like Tarantula or Extraperlo. The title track is a dreamy track with sublime vocals and a trenching theme that is almost as cinematic as Belle & Sebastian or God Help The Girl. In “Sentido y Referencia” they lament not being able to craft catchy songs, a wrong if not modest statement considering how welcoming these songs are. Los Lagos de Hinault have made a notable first collection of songs that are still finding their identity but undeniably profile a band to watch in Spain’s humongous indiepop scene.