Acclaimed Madrid-based indie rock/garage rock act and JOVM mainstays The Parrots was founded by Diego García (vocals, guitars), Alex de Lucas (vocals, bass) back in 2014. With a handful of independently released singles, the band which, at the time featured Garcia, de Lucas and Daniel “Larry” Balboa (drums) nosily burst into the scene, receiving attention for establishing a boozy, raucous and mischievous sensibility to their overall sound and approach.
Along with Hinds and Los Nastys, The Parrots brought Madrid’s garage rock scene into the international arena, eventually signing to London-based label Heavenly Recordings, who released their critically applauded full-length debut, 2016’s Los Niños Sin Miedo. Since then, the members of The Parrots have been busy with a relentless touring schedule, winning fans across the world with their sweaty and raw punk rock-inspired ferocity. But in that time, they’ve also managed to released a collection of singles that have found the act pushing the boundaries of their sound — while going through a lineup change.
Slated for an October 29, 2021 release through their longtime label home, the Madrid-based JOVM mainstays’ highly-anticipated Tom Furse-produced sophomore album, DOS reportedly represents a new phase for the newly-constituted duo: while revealing an act that has gained a bolstered sense of confidence in their creative processes and taking pride in surrounding themselves with those they love and those who inspire them, the album’s material sonically is a decided change of sonic direction.
“Most of the album was recorded in Wilton Way Studios in Hackney in periods between summer 2019 and the start of 2020. Because of lockdown, it ended up getting finished in Madrid with Harto Rodriguez,” the duo explain in press notes. “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, when we knew we couldn’t go back to London to finish it, we decided to invite a lot of our friends back home to the studio. That made recording feel almost like a celebration. Everyone we knew was fine; even with the global pause we could still find the bright spots and stay together.
“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,” the duo continues. “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.”
Earlier this year, I wrote about “Maldito,” DOS‘ a single that found Garcia and de Lucas retaining a great deal of the scuzzy and distorted guitar driven-sound and the rousingly anthemic hooks that have won them fans globally, but giving it a slick studio polish that included a dash of autotunes on the song’s particularly punchy hook. But underneath the slick polish, the song is a bittersweet meditation on the nuanced and conflicting feelings involved in letting someone go — including longing, regret, the uneasy acceptance of the difficult decision made and the consequences of that decision on you and others. Adding to the new, forward thinking sonic direction that they’ve taken, the song features a guest spot from the commercially successful Spanish emcee C. Tangana.
DOS‘ second and latest single, “You Work All Day And Then You Die,” clocks in at a little over four-and-a-half minutes, and is centered around a relentless motorik groove, angular blasts of guitar, shimmering synth arpeggios and a rousingly anthemic, chant/shout-along hook. And while arguably being one of the most expansive and boldly arena friendly songs of their catalog, “You Work All Day And Then You Die” is fueled by a growing dissatisfaction and disgust with the lines of bullshit about work and adult responsibility that we’ve been sold — and are either untrue or impossible to achieve. It’s an urgent wake up call that says busting your ass and working at a job you hate to barely survive, to buy shit that won’t make you happy when the world is on fire is laziness at best, lunacy at worst.
“We wanted to write this song for a long time. The sounds, the epic in it were something that we had wanted to express for a long time and couldn’t have done it without the help of our amazing producer, Tom Furse,” Garcia and de Lucas explain. “On the lyrical side, we’ve been feeling that people are settling and giving up their dreams for the ones people post on social media, we wanted to express that lack of individuality, how it’s easier to copy other models of success rather than follow your own. With this song we wanted to punch that trend (or feeling) in the face and remind people and ourselves that success has more to do with personal feelings and self care than social acceptance. We’ve always felt very comfortable being treated as outsiders in most circles and we are proud of that, fight back, don’t kneel and don’t try to be liked by everyone. Some things work for you but others may not. Why are people so worried about communism and stuff when it’s capitalism itself which tries to make us all exactly the same, boring with the same dreams and motivations?”
Directed by Joaquin Luna, the recently released video for “You Work All Day And Then You Die” follows four hemmed-in and abused workers, struggling with their shitty realities, at points going through their days like automatons fueled by stress, desperation, financial necessity and lack of better options. It shouldn’t be surprising that the video’s protagonists work soulless and degrading work — we see a cleaning woman, a line chef/busboy type, a store clerk and two suit wearing office workers. Eventually we see each of these workers become increasingly fed up and in a familiar yet somewhat absurd catharsis, act out in what little liberation from their hell that they can.