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The Parrots Los Niños Sin Miedo (PIAS America)

Sep. 27, 2016
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Young ’uns have brashly bashed out some of rock ’n’ roll’s finest debut albums as if they were trying to keep spirits up while hurrying to keep costs down: The Beatles recorded Please Please Me in less than 13 hours, Elvis Costello laid out My Aim Is True in two days and The Ramones finished The Ramones in seven days.

Los Niños Sin Miedo (roughly, “Children Without Fear”), the debut album from The Parrots, is not on the same level as such vaunted predecessors, but it took a week to make and does have comparable enthusiasm.

The Parrots distinguish themselves by being bilingual, more or less: the Madrid trio’s guitarist and lead singer, Diego Garcia, doesn’t seem much better with English than the average American tourist is with Spanish, and his gruffly adenoidal voice often veers so far into slurring and yowling that even his lingua franca comes out through the teenage paralysis of feelings and hormones and stuff. 

Such passionate inarticulacy is, however, not uncommon to the kind of punky, garage-reverb rock The Parrots play. The resemblance to the Ramones has already been stated, and there are other resemblances: a growl of Roky Erickson throughout opening track “Too High to Die,” a Cramps-ish horror show in “Jame Gumb” and Jon Spencer frustration in “Windows 98.” 

There are also bracing bursts of inarticulacy in the musicianship, as Garcia, bassist Alex de Lucas and drummer Larry Balboa don’t concern themselves much with putting every note or beat in exactly the right place. Sometimes songs end sort of rather than definitely, or a piccolo—maybe a recorder or an ocarina—decides to wheezily wander into the closing title track.

Nevertheless, The Parrots hold their songs together with spit and moxie. In a mere 26 minutes, they argue sloppily, yet well, for primitivism over professionalism.


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