Melenas, which translates roughly to “heads of hair,” are an all-female quartet hailing from Pamplona, Spain (yep, of bulls running through the streets fame), and Dias Raros, which translates to “strange days,”is its second album. The band’s first for Trouble in MInd Records, the record eclipses the band’s self-titled debut from a couple years ago that stuck to a charming if limited template of three-chord garage rock. Here, they’ve expanded their palette to create 11 tracks that generally favor dreamy ambiance over rock primitivism.
Beginning appropriately with “Primer Tiempo” (“first time”), Melenas sound like the Wooden Shjips’ Spanish sister band, blending keyboard drones with guitar oscillations and cracking beats. Meanwhile, the following cut, “No Puedo Pensar” (“I can’t think”), is reminiscent of not only Bay Area psych, but New Zealand jangle, a catchy guitar hook propelling the song at a quick clip. This influence is evident on “Ciencia Ficcion” (“science fiction”) as well, however, Melenas prove themselves to be more than just a product of well-chosen influences. “Despertar” (“awakening”) is a dimly lit blend of pop and psych that, like much of the album, evokes certain earmarks while still being wholly original. Best here, though, is “Los Alemanes” (“the Germans”), which fuses a big backbeat and a mesh of overdriven guitars. I’ve got no idea what it could be about, but the song proves that a good hook needs no translation. Indeed, this record breaks down any language barriers via the strength of its songs and its universal appeal.