A skeletal pop delight (…) ROCKDELUX David Morán
With their first LP, Dos gajos laid out their basic blueprint: Juan Carlos’s muted fingerpicking, which at times borders on mathematical precision, and Esperanza’s oblique percussion patterns that act charmingly like the clacking of projector reels at an old movie theater. Together, their voices engage in obsessive litanies that that are at once slightly misanthropic and somewhat ironic. In their new album, ‘Dos’, this formula has become more flexible. The characters in the stories no longer feel like deadpan voice-overs; they now engage the listener much more actively.
New sound resources are sprinkled here and there in careful doses so as to supply a huge degree of suggestion: A nylon-string guitar and the melodies sung in unison are sufficient to dilute all the tension we thought so characteristic of their attitude in their previous outing. They now convey a sense of bliss (‘La isla’); within several nail scratching of the snare drum and(‘Desafortunados dos’), we are immediately drawn to a sound that is reminiscent of Smog’s The Doctor Came at Dawn; a few seconds of bending notes on the guitar in ‘La conclusion’ and we are reminded of Canned Heat or R.L. Burnside. The hilarious ‘Bajo las palmeras’ would not have been out of place in the repertoire of Luís Aguilé; ‘Perro ladrador’ and especially the lapidary ‘Balada de hoy’ are straight out of The Threepenny Opera…
Although dazed and unbelieving as always, Dos gajos deploy a broader spectrum of moods in their lyrics: Fevers of Iberian seduction (‘Morenaza’), chronic scathing disappointment and emotional anesthesia (‘Todo sin sufrir’), the occasional Brechtian taunt of bias… In ‘Dos’, Juan Carlos and Esperanza even take a stab at their first canonical duets, along the lines of Nancy & Lee or Gainsburg and Birkin (‘Qué puede ser’).
In ‘Nada’, the penultimate track on the album, JC plays a grumpy social-dropout who goes unnoticed in life, until he is rebuked in the chorus by Esperanza: (…) That’s enough, you know you just repeat yourself over and over (…). This ulterior motive is barely concealed in their voices where we can sense the degree of control in their proposal – thus allowing them to tinker with self-parody. In this second LP, Dos gajos have done anything but repeat themselves.
(…) Javier Aquilué