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Los Bengala are a dynamic two-piece from Zaragoza in north-east Spain; another great band from the flourishing Latino garage rock scene. Their sound is unique: Guillermo Sinnerman’s loud, powerful, simple guitar chords backed by ambidextrous drummer Borja Tellez’s complex beats. Both sing lead, very well, and their on-stage dynamism is compelling.
Their debut album “Incluso Festivos” offers 10 songs of infectiously trashy, hard-hitting garage rock that embraces many more prime flavours of rock’n’roll.
Even though they themselves admit they’ve not invented anything new, their sound is unique… There is nothing else that sounds quite like Los Bengala. Their on-stage energy is irresistible. In 2014 they won a national Battle of the Bands in Spain and when you see them live you can understand why the overcame the competition.
Previously members of a funk-soul outfit called The Faith Keepers, the duo wanted to have some fun with a musical style that was more raw and down-to-earth, exploring their more primitive side, shaking the lethargy out of their hair. Their rehearsals were, in fact, such fun that they decided to go at it full time. And that fun in their music and performances translated to the audiences more quickly than they expected.
Just nine months after forming, they were already in the studio working on their debut recordings. As the band will tell you, “If we stop, we’re dead – and we very much like being alive. Life is short and we intend to make the most of it. We never stop playing. We’re a live band. With sweat and intensity. And the record you’ll soon be holding in your hand will show that.”
During the time they were in the studio, they won the aforementioned Battle of the Bands, leading to the name of Los Bengala being spread far and wide across the country, with more and more people attending their live shows whenever they go on tour. The band says another reason for their music is so that they can “meet people and get out into the world”. And that’s exactly what’s happening!
What the critics are saying
This Zaragoza duo Los Bengala’s debut has awakened our curiosity with its ten songs of grungy, cool and garage-y rock’n’roll, in which Guillermo Sinnerman and Borja Tellez (guitar and voice THE Faith Keepers, respectively)) beat out the sound only using rhythm and machete. This is rock and roll. No additives or sweeteners. Guitar very raw. Very American flavored, albeit a bastardised Iberian version. In their introductory notes they aim to get to their “most primitive and childish” side. And what will happen when it is released? They will run wild. El Lado Oscuro de la Luna
In many ways, Los Bengala sum up their sound on the front cover of “Incluso Festivos” with the image of a pair of leopard skin pants on a washing line – not the that band are in fact “pants”, but a sense of over their over the top fun and colour; a band who manage to combine a punk rock attitude with a big catchy pop sound. As far as the lyrical content goes, I could not tell you what it consists of. The album is entirely in Spanish, barring one song. However, the intonation suggests a sense of dirty rock’n’roll, with plenty of debauchery, and a sense of humour thrown in the mix. Their style is reminiscent of The Hives, although perhaps with the sleaze factor turned up, and touch of the classic punk influences of bands like The Ramones or New York Dolls thrown in. Pure Rawk
Los Bengala come at it like a cat on a hot tin roof. The guitars are loud and raw and the drums are primal and bouncing with energy. Okay, the lyrics aren’t in English but that isn’t as much of a problem as I was expecting. ‘Jodidamente Loco’ is a wild beast that reminds me of a frantic Hives. They certainly have got energy in spades and before you know it you’re half way through the album. Drummer Borja certainly knows how to get behind this style of music and holds most of that energy in his rhythmic patterns as he expertly displays on ‘Maquina Infernal’. Winning friends and influencing people in Spain is currently serving the band well and going down a storm on the mainland and that’s easy to see why. ’65 Dias’ cuts the tempo with a knife – well, for the first minute anyway before breaking out into a snarling beast. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that these boys are going down a storm on the live circuit because they sound like a live band (if that makes sense). Uberrock
The Dirty Water Club started in October 1996 in the Tufnell Park neighbourhood of north London, at a venue called The Boston. The club’s name is derived from The Standells’ 1966 hit ‘Dirty Water’ which glorifies the US city of Boston, Massachusetts.
Past performers have included The White Stripes (voted by Q Magazine as one of the top 10 gigs of all time, Mojo one of the top 30 and Kerrang one of the top 100!), The Gories, NOBUNNY, Kid Congo Powers (from the Cramps), The Fleshtones, Billy Childish, Radio Birdman, The Dirtbombs, Thee Michelle Gun Elephant, The 184.108.40.206’s, The Horrors and The Brian Jonestown Massacre to name just a few. The club has also seen some original ’60s performers, such as The Monks, ? and the Mysterians, Kim Fowley, Sky Saxon, GONN, Michael Davis of the MC5 and more grace its stage.
Their in-house record label, Dirty Water Records, is one of the leading garage/beat/(real) R&B labels in the world.