Columna – Las Cosas Que Perdemos (Dirt Cult Records / Last Hour Records / Sabotage Records 2018)

As people the world over no doubt know, and rightly sneer at us for, we in the UK are terrible for not being bilingual, let alone multi-lingual. We are total cross-cultural morons. It’s embarrassing. I mean, I speak English, and that’s pretty much it. Beyond the odd rudimentary bits of French and German I learned at school which enable me to say inane and asinine things like “the pig is under the table” (which would take a very special set of circumstances to be of any use whatsoever), I’m a veritable language dunce. This is something which always makes me a bit nervous when it comes to reviewing stuff where the singing is done in another language. In this case, Spanish. Luckily for me, Google Translate exists, so I can decode the band name and album title thus: Column – The Things We Lose.

On this occasion, as Chris at Dirt Cult is a really helpful dude and actually bothers to supply background info on his releases (other small labels should take note!!), I’m gonna quote direct:
Zaragoza, Spain’s Columna formed from the ashes of Warsong and released one of our favorite demo’s of 2017. “Las Cosas Que Perdemos”, the band’s debut 7-song LP, features several re-recorded songs from that session as well as some wonderful new additions. The band plays moody, melodic, and political punk sung in Spanish. Fans of Arctic Flowers, Terrible Feelings, and Accidente should take note.

Normally, I’m quite a lyric driven listener (obviously the music has to meet my exacting criteria as well). Based on this, I’d typically have some expectation that I would need to understand what’s being sung about. This would feel especially important on stuff with a “clean and clear” vocal. In this case, the vocal and back-ups are both soothingly melodic and perfectly complementary to the music; this makes me appreciate all the more how integral a vocal performance can be to the overall sound of a recording.

Sound-wise, this is driving, angular, riffy punk rock with massive hooks. There’s a really “meaty” texture, almost melt in the mouth texture to the guitar sound, which couples well with a solid rhythmic backing. It evokes reminders of a real range of stuff for me: Beach Slang without the reverb; Tragedy without the crusty D-Beat edge; Drive Like Jehu without the tendency to occasionally meander; like Leatherface without the er, Leatherfaceness?

Listening to this has been a really cathartic experience for me for some reason. Maybe it’s being opened up to hearing the vocals almost in terms of another instrument rather than getting bogged down in the words? Realistically, you need to sit down and listen to this in full. It’s fucking awesome. Tony of Nurgle rating: 9/10.

Listen to this on the bandcamp player below:

This is a split release between Dirt Cult Records (via the Green Noise Webstore – * The first 40 copies sold via direct mail order will also include a copy of Warsong’s debut LP “Ancient Times” which we were gifted by the band after they parted ways. Two records for one? Is this real???), Last Hour Records (US), and Sabotage Records (Europe).

Tony of Nurgle is a true child of the North, recently returned to Yorkshire and residing in Leeds (after close to a decade living in exile in Croydon and South East London). He used to co-run a specialist record store in Manchester (Roadkill Records), and also several years as a promoter, and put on shows for the likes of Leatherface, the Loved Ones, Lucero, Minus The Bear, These Arms Are Snakes, Spy vs Spy, Latterman etc. He also spent several years DJing at shady rock clubs in Manchester, and started the infamous Thursday night "punk room" at Jilly's Rockworld. Also responsible for Middle Finger Response, and collaborated with a couple of friends on a monthly night called Refuse to Lose, which will still occasionally reunite the original DJ line-up - next event at Retro in Manchester on 07/09/2019. Apart from that, it's all bitterness and a jaundiced view of human nature, occasionally skateboarding, always exhausted, often reading books with maps in the front.


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