“Spanish shame”: music of frankly surrendered nerves

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Spanish Shame Group. Photo: Daniel of Karelia

In early April, Artemy Troitsky gave a disappointing forecast: very soon music in Russia will remember what the late Soviet stagnation is. Total state censorship, the impossibility of speaking to a wide audience and the legal distribution of records with the slightest deviation from the general line of the party. And after the news about requests for state support from newly established music associations, the departure of key streams from the Russian market and increased moderation of content in the remaining and more optimistic minded journalists moderate your enthusiasm.

And Artemiy Troitsky, and “Afisha” tend to talk primarily about great pop music. About the one who is able to conduct public sentiments, but can hardly reflect them in as much detail as artists, not yet so fond of the media, but with every chance to capture the minds without official recognition. The Yaroslavl group “Spanish Shame” is just one of them.

On May 18, they released their second album, Komprachikos, perhaps the most vivid statement of how a single person has been feeling lately. Russia.

Comprachikos is a secret society from Victor Hugo’s novel The Man Who Laughs. By kidnapping and buying children from poor families, they disfigured their appearance and then sold them to royal courts and aristocrats as clowns or circus performers. The heroes of the songs from the Yaroslavl album evoke the same mixture of compassion and disgust that made the victims of the criminals from Hugo’s novel feel.

One of them goes interview after interview, but never finds a job. The second one unfolds Tarot cards every now and then, looks for signs from higher powers and does not notice the world around him at all. The third (third?) Is pressed on the corners of the apartment and is barely selected even in the next quarter. The fourth, maniacally updating correspondence, can not go beyond the mobile screen. The fifth, fidgeting and looking at his watch, hastily packs his suitcase with his friends.

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Music frankly surrendered nerves “Spanish shame” played before. Although at first – on the first mini-album “Film” and the previously released single “Citizen of the World” – just melancholy danced around the abstract lost youth and the corresponding disorders. And in 2019 they released the album “Shame” – perhaps one of the most energetic domestic pop records of recent years.

“Shame” was remembered almost immediately. Partly because his musical fabric consisted of well-known components – dance funky post-punk and synthpop, as well as born of electroclash and nu-rave, popular electronic styles of zero.

But the appeal to such genres was not listened to as just a nostalgia for the music of youth – at least a guitarist Mikhail Frolov and jokes that “half the group is the people of the decade before last.” Thematically, “Shame” was built around a simple but true maxim – in recent decades, little has changed in Russia. And the group did not hesitate to specify this statement.

Guitarist of the group “Spanish Shame” Mikhail Frolov. Photo: Daniel of Karelia

With their songs, they mocked the alienation of the capitals from what was happening in the regions, and the arrogance of the great Russian art (and at the same time – the need to kill the craving for such art in themselves), and the very feeling that nothing can be changed.

“Instead of the future – Rick Astley clips”: In the song “Odyssey 2001”, the musicians mentioned a famous video, which until recently was sent to those who dared to ask on the Internet for something inaccessible – in return, they invariably received three minutes and 33 seconds of kringa. At the same time, the album did not leave a painful feeling, as if the Spanish shame itself is the most accessible and familiar feeling to compatriots. Quite the opposite: “Shame” was a very inspiring record.

It is a great rarity for domestic pop music, without exaggeration obsessed with chewing a “Russian chthon”, obsessed with “fixing the moment” or producing a stupid party frenzy. Perhaps the feeling from listening to the record was perfectly captured by another line from “Odyssey”: “Time, like a record, bends // Heart – firm. Like granite ».

After the release of “Shame”, the band was quickly picked up by the label “UNION”. So the quartet, which recently rehearsed in the Yaroslavl recreation center “Sudostroitel” (bassist Anton Sanin calls this place nothing more than “the last ass of the city”), got his first edition on vinyl. But almost immediately after that, the record giant had to abandon plans for the band – a covid pandemic broke out with all its costs; however, it hardly affected the ambitions of the Spanish Shame.

The bassist of the Spanish Shame band, Anton Sanin, is on the far right. Photo: Daniel of Karelia

During the quarantine 2020, the musicians released three mini-albums that were not inferior to the debutant in fame. Each of them in his own way, but very hard walked on the imaginary sense of intimacy: p cultural and linguistic communityhometown, close but closed friendly circlefinally with a single personaccidentally picked up in a spontaneous intrigue.

Then “Spanish Shame” took a break for almost two years. Originally released on the NICHA label, Comprachikos was scheduled to roll out earlier this spring – but attack On February 24, Russia broke all plans for Ukraine.

“What can our small group (albeit with a big heart) say to such a huge world? However, as it turned out, not huge enough to be able to stay away. Is it really necessary to say that a bad world is better than war? It was hard to imagine that there are still people who need to be explained this. This suggests that the only way to stop all this and make our home better is to become better ourselves. This is the only way to drive blind blindness and ignorance out of here. As if to become better is everyone’s responsibility and duty “, – such a statement was made by “Spanish Shame” in early March. And it resonates well with their new album.

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The idea that each of us is constantly disfiguring ourselves and others, which in turn leads to discord and subsequent catastrophe, in general, is not new. But Komprachikos manages to inspire unprecedented anger in these words. First of all – just by working with the language.

The frontman of the group “Spanish Shame” Alexander Samoilov – right. Photo: Daniel of Karelia

Texts written by the frontman Alexander Samoilov, are eaten into memory due to the almost complete absence of metaphors. As a rule, these songs revolve around a couple of sharp and capacious formulations: phraseological units, characteristic constructions from everyday and work communication. But unlike the group “Komsomolsk”, which literally wrote songs from some memes and admired their further flight “to the people”, Alexander’s lyrics are as mundane.

A typical example is “Attractions”, a track from the middle of the album, the chorus of which directly indicates that all the verbal embellishments and other high-minded games are already tired. A very bold step at a time when almost all Russian artists – especially those claiming a graceful political gesture, like the same Shortparis – are practicing Aesop’s language. And even more so when even everyday Russian balances between awkward bureaucracy and endless beadwork.

Melodies on “Komprachikos” are suitable for text content: it is a very intelligible and sharp electropop, sometimes reminiscent of music even more understandable. The track “Ritual” is similar to the slow-moving “Cadillac” by Morgenstern, the guitar parts of the whole album Frolov composed, inspired by “Night” by “Kino” – one of the most popular and short-spoken Tsoev albums, and vocals on “Products”. Photo service. Tours “sounds like an echo of patter Dora.

Vocalist of the group “Spanish Shame” Ekaterina Turbina. Photo: Daniel of Karelia

And in general, the considerable charm of the album is given by singing Katya Turbine. Sharp, long and at the same time quick to change the register; No wonder half of Yaroslavl calls the vocalist “Turbine”.

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Staff music critic of “Kommersant” Boris Barabanov writes that in “Komprachikos” “A lot of hope and a lot of life”, that the album “is able to stir and reassure even those who are in the deepest depression”. This is true, although hardly one song from “Komprachikos” can be called funny. However, due to this, the album works – a sincere kick in the ass now seems much more honest and effective than any fun.

Amouth Abramov for «That’s right»

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