ALBUM REVIEW: Spanish Love Songs – No Joy


For the past seven years, Spanish Love Songs have made a reputation for themselves across their previous three albums for creating some of the most emotionally powerful music, a feat that, with the release of their fourth album No Joy (Pure Noise Records), the punk quintet achieved yet again. 


“I pitched this new album to the band as a group of love songs,” commented vocalist Dylan Slocum. With a totally different goal and aspect behind the lyricism of their music, one of the leading factors that has led this band so quickly into the spotlights of the punk scene, the main point of wonder going into the new album is whether this new lyrical direction and focus will be of detriment or a benefit to the band’s songwriting capabilities. 



Right from the start of the album with the opening track, “Lifers” the band plays immediately to their strengths. Slocum’s vocals chime in over light guitars, as he illustrates the story. Similar to contemporaries, The Gaslight Anthem and The Menzingers, Spanish Love Songs have this effortless ability to bring you into their world and create beautifully written stories. 


Instrumentally, the band know where their strengths lie and no individual parts of the rest of the band take the spotlight as Slocum sings. A light melody orchestrated by the electric guitar with an underlying acoustic really manages to add layers and depth to this musically simple song. 


It’s another example of the Spanish Love Songs managing to create music that sounds so uplifting and joyful, but when you look into the words behind the song, the harrowing truth presents itself. “Do you think we’ll outrun it? Get past the pain of simply being?” Slocum repeats in the chorus, in an almost hopeful way. It’s in marrying this personal depth to music that brings out the emotions that truly is the talent in this band that few others are able to replicate.


“Haunted” is an example of the band running at full power, showing the true extent of what they can be. Light synths back up the bold guitars as the band play their hearts away. Despite the subject matter seeming (as usual) sad and miserable, the perspective never flinches from being told from a hopeful perspective. “You’re not haunted, you just miss everything. You’re not a ghost, so stop disappearing” Slocum earnestly sings. With most other bands, this would’ve fallen into the trap of being just another sad song, but Spanish Love Songs make it uplifting, hopeful and what’s more, totally endearing. It’s clear that from whoever’s perspective it’s told from, they truly care about this person who feels as if they’re haunted, and it’s through the band’s exceptional lyricism and storytelling abilities they’re able to bring you in and immerse yourself in this musical play. 


Not only a feat of storytelling prowess, but the way the band is able to do all this and create one of the most catchy, earworms of their career and of the year in general so far is an accomplishment few others can repeat. By the end of the year, venues are going to be full of people screaming these words right back at them. 


Concluding with what could be the longest song the band have released to date, is ‘Re-emerging Signs Of The Apocalypse’, clocking in at almost six minutes, the band do not waste a single second of this time creating one of the best closing songs they’ve released to date. Bringing the sounds they’ve explored with the low-key synths from “Haunted” and “Marvel” the undercurrent acoustic guitar building up the tone of the rest of the instruments, alongside Slocum’s recognisable voice, all comes together to create a feeling of completion.


 The backing vocals joining in on the chorus give off the energy of a dimly lit small venue show all screaming together in unison. The song starts to slow down and the passion and vibe left over is palpable. 


Spanish Love Songs just keep on getting better. Whether it’s newfound avenues to focus their songwriting prowess from, or whether it’s bringing in layers of other sounds branching into synths and more acoustic instrumentation, the band keep on finding ways to innovate in small yet wholly effective ways. It’s truly rare to find a band like this, and for anyone just discovering them or who has been aware of them for a while now, there’s no telling where they could go from here. 


Buy the album here:


9 / 10