Retumbarama, Los Ginkas
Spicnic Records, Spain
by Pierre Lestruhaut
Even though Los Ginkas’ Retumbarama was released a few months ago, and “El Gran Salto” was featured in Fonogramáticos Vol. 11, no one in CF (myself included) seemed willing to take the task of finally reviewing the album, which we would think is normal for challenging albums or bands, those that demand heavy reflection and repeated listens in order to grasp all the subtleties and references they contain. But in the case of a band like Los Ginkas’, as Carlos Reyes mentioned in his post for Alt.Latino, the Spanish sextet “not only revives the aesthetics of another decade (the late 70s), they also opt to make accessible, crowd-pleasing songs”. This is basically the type of band in search of making great simple timeless rock music for the purpose of having a good time, while celebrating a certain savoir faire inherent to a past time in rock music through the embracing of lo-fi and vinyl record releases.
So how’s that significantly different from other CF beloved albums like Los Claveles’ Nacional 42 or Dávila 666’s Tan Bajo, which we didn’t hesitate to review? Or from the myriad of interesting indie revival acts that continue to proliferate? Probably because Los Ginkas’ music, as opposed to the aforementioned acts, is not self-conscious about its status as revival music, because it doesn’t want to be more than playing some cool danceable “popabilly” songs that praise partying, having fun and... that’s about it. There’s never been really anything wrong with good pop music that has no interest in intellectualizing itself, like the one that used to do most of the bands featured in the album’s B-side (which a quick online search will tell you know they have been referred to as “tontipop” in the past), I’ve always found that the simplicity and sincerity of indie pop is in fact its most appealing feature. Yet there’s also something a lot more exciting in the repetition of Dávila’s “Noche de Terror” than Los Ginkas’ “No te quiero ver”, similar to how Vivian Girls manage to successfully construct a song built around the word “No” as opposed to Best Coast’s blunt repetition of “I wish he was my boyfriend”.
Also, Retumbarama is an extremely uniform album in its structure, consisting of 14 songs that never make it past 3 minutes and show no attempt of going outside of the contrasting verse-chorus form, therefore displaying an almost disciplinary uniformity that makes it both difficult and useless to reference any particular song in the album. There are clearly no standout tracks nor any fillers, except for maybe “Babia” which sees the band take a small step away from the dance floor and have a very successful attempt at pop balladry with great melodic treatment. Other than that it’s all about good hooks, sing-along choruses and fairly danceable tracks for a very pleasant 32 minutes, which has never been too much of a bad thing anyway.
Retumbarama, Los Ginkas