Spanish Love Songs examine the paralysis of profound loss

Los Angeles’ Spanish Love Songs have just released their sophomore full-length LP, ‘Schmaltz.’ They’ve retooled a bit since their first LP, adding a keyboard player, maturing their sound, and growing as musicians and songwriters. From pop punk, they’ve changed to more of an indie sound, yet the music is still rousing, with a deeply emotional feel. Nowhere is this clearer than in the song “Joana, In Five Acts.” The keys are more prominent than in most songs, the guitar lines in the opening bars reminding me of The New Pornographers, of all bands, and the bridge is gorgeous. That leads into the close of the song, which explodes into a massive dream pop feel, guitars soaring like mad.

The lyrics speak to a deep crippling sense of loss. Profound depression turns into paralysis, and the aching cry of “why’d you leave without me” over and over. The feeling that one would sacrifice themselves to “be with” this other person is devastating. The music moves between happy and bouncy and profound sadness, mimicking a person who tries to put up a brave front, but inside is gutted. The album, as a whole, is a massive step up for Spanish Love Songs, though it was hard to top their debut. I can’t wait to see what comes next.