Home Read Albums Of The Week: The Parrots | Dos

Albums Of The Week: The Parrots | Dos

Although downsized to a duo, the Spanish garage-rockers upsize their sonic and stylistic approach by adding Motorik, hip-hop, psychedelia & more into the mix.

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Rolling in on an unbreakable motorik groove, The Parrots’ second album Dos starts very much on the front foot. You Work All Day And Then You Die is a bold statement of intent, a signpost at the side of the road that tells you straight about the futility of our modern lives spent chained to the workstation. As the chant-along chorus repeats “It’s hard to find some peace of mind,” it feels like a reflection of the ethos behind Dos and The Parrots themselves — and a reaction to the last year and half on planet Earth.

From You Work All Day And Then You Die’s relentless pulse to closing cut Romance’s end of the night celebration of friendship and survival, Dos is an all-consuming, life-affirming joyous noise. Where The Parrots’ debut Los Niños Sin Miedo howled and rattled like the garage bands that had inspired the band in their formative years in Madrid, Dos was conceived by Diego Garcia (guitar, vocals) and Alex de Lucas (bass) as a chance to showcase wider ambitions. That desire to expand the band’s sound led them to working with producer Tom Furse from The Horrors.

Says Garcia: “Before we started Dos, we knew we really wanted to work with Tom. We’ve been very strongly influenced by his work and we really felt that his production and knowledge — especially with synths and ambience — was what we needed to take our songs to another level. We had a strong vision on how we wanted to evolve and he really helped us focus on what was important to get there.”

While Los Niños Sin Miedo was recorded in a week in a studio in Cádiz on the southwestern coast of Spain, Dos came together in a very different environment with the band and Furse booking holing up in the heart of London before the world stopped turning in the spring of 2020.

“Most of the album was recorded in Wilton Way Studios in Hackney in periods between summer 2019 and the start of 2020,” Garcia recalls. “Because of lockdown, it ended up getting finished in Madrid with Harto Rodriguez. Recording at home was really nice because it meant we could call on some of our very talented friends to join us in the studio. Most of the record was written before the lockdown but that unexpected pause in all of our lives made us rethink some of it and finish bits off in a different way. Also, we couldn’t go back to London to finish it, so we decided to meet up with many of our friends back home in the studio. That made it feel almost like a celebration, that everyone we knew was fine, and that even with the global pause we could still find the bright spots and stay together.”

Fans of The Parrots’ previous records and their life-enhancing live shows needn’t worry that things have changed too much. Dos is still very much a garage rock record, only now painted in brighter, bolder, more psychedelic colours. Just Hold On is a summery late ’60s West Coast stomp while Nadie Dijo Que Fuera Fácil (translation: Nobody Said It Would Be Easy) and Amigos recall modern psychedelic voyagers such as Spacemen 3 and Super Furry Animals — bands who effortlessly combined drones with celestial melody. Elsewhere, It’s Too Late To Go To Bed sounds like something released on Ze Records in the early ’80s.

“Even though garage rock is kind of the core of all our influences, in the last few years we’ve been listening to lots of stuff that we’d kind of relegated to a second position,” Garcia says. “We rediscovered a lot of artists that we listened back when we first fell in love with music — bands like LCD Soundsystem and Gang of Four, lots of mutant disco. Tom really helped us there, he made sense out of the chaotic mashup of influences that we brought into the studio. And because we’ve always loved hip-hop, we followed a different approach to putting songs together, using samples and sampling ourselves a lot. Beastie Boys, ESG, Devo, Los Zombies (the Spanish band) were all a very big influence on the tone of the record. Also the Spanish music scene has been changing a lot in the last years and listening to a lot of new Spanish artists has helped us break down some walls and made us create music in a more free way.”

Several of those Spanish artists were among the friends who made their way to the studio in Madrid when things opened up again last year. Rapper C. Tangana and Los Nastys each add their own distinctive styles to Maldito and Romance respectively.

C. Tangana and The Parrots are both from Madrid,” Garcia explains. “We’d known each other for a while but it was a great surprise when he saw that we were recording and told us that he wanted to join in. He is one of the biggest artists in Spain at the moment and comes from a way different scene. It wasn’t normal for an artist like him to collaborate with a garage band but we think this opened a path and broke down some prejudices. Los Nastys are our biggest friends. We each started at a point where garage music was regarded as a revival thing, but we always knew that we were sons of the 21st century. Back then, we knew people needed new bands so we decided to do it ourselves. I guess people agreed ‘cause everyday more people would come to our shows and party with us. That time created an unbreakable bond between us which is reflected in Romance.”

Dos is not only The Parrots’ second album; it’s also their first as a duo since drummer Larry Balboa left the band (“We love Larry but he was just looking for other things in life that he wasn’t gonna find being in a rock ’n’ roll band like The Parrots”). With things opening up all around the world, the band will take Dos on the road as a five piece.

“Live shows are one of the things we love the most in life — both attending as fans and playing,” Garcia says. “We always push ourselves to make them better and make a crazier experience where people who come can become a wilder version of themselves free of any shyness and prejudice. We’re really working hard to deliver the best show possible and we’re lucky, because we have lots of friends are joining us onstage, and that allows us to focus more on giving the best performance while also stepping up to create the sound that we aimed for with this album. We truly can’t wait for things to go back to normal so that us and the fans can enjoy shows 100% as they were before. We want and need sweat and rolling around on the floor.”

If you spend some time with Dos — the riotous and addictive new Parrots record — you’ll realise it’d be wise not to wear your best clothes the next time they roll in to town as you’ll invariably be going home drenched, ecstatic and covered in footprints. Bring it on.”