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Migala | Restos De Un Incendio (Acuarela)
It seems that every other record that passes my way these days is referred to as the 'Spanish Tindersticks' (which I assume is meant as a compliment). It brings to mind last year's glut of Norwegian Lambchops and Dutch Giant Sands - but no matter, we have to review a record on what it sounds like not what we're told, right? Well, the eight and a half minute instrumental opener, La Cancion De Gurb, immediately banishes any thoughts of the Tindersticks with its slowly building organ and guitar riff that eventually mutates into full blown-out stoner rock. And it's not bad at all and a damn sight more adventurous than the 'sticks have been for several years. And then those comparisons come back into play for it's almost impossible to listen to the next seven or eight songs without being put in mind of a certain British band. El Pasado Diciembre is a good example with its dramatic, affected vocal strangulations and tasteful guitar arpeggios. Surprisingly, it's rather good and the lyrics (despite being sung in a horribly convoluted English accent) show some promise in the depth and despair field. El Retraso mines a similar seam, attaching a good narrative to a restrained, lush background that brings to mind Scott Walker's solo albums. But there's also the shadow of that band in the mumbled (Spanish) spoken word of Noche Desde Un Tren and several other tracks where it all sounds dangerously close to a Tindersticks piss-take karaoke. Still, there's another good, long, instrumental that seethes and bubbles (Aquel Incendio) and a (unintentionally) hilarious line in a later song, sung totally straight-faced: "All the girls in these times of disaster / Want a party I'm not able to give." So, if you're a fan of moody, slow, slouched slurred absinthe rock then you'll love this, it's proficient, promising of greater things at times and shows a band that could develop once they shrug of the shackles of their influences. Power Pop lovers need not apply.

Stav Sherez
CWAS #11 - Autumn 2002