9 April 2011
Los Brincos - Passport/ Lola
Label: Page One
Year of Release: 1967
As I'd hope we've established on multiple occasions on "Left and to the Back" now, a largely unknown band in the UK may actually have been enormously successful in mainland Europe. Los Brincos are one such case in point, a Spanish rock band who topped the charts in their home country with the Spanish language version of the A-side of this disc. From 1964-68, the "Spanish Beatles" (as they were apparently frequently dubbed) issued hit singles and albums, all without really creating much of an impression on this island.
In the case of "Lola", I'm sorry to say that I'm not surprised. It's a wet blanket of a track whose traditional Spanish influences sound tacked on (with the emphasis on the word "tack") rather than appearing natural and seamless. Not even the production work of Larry Page could rescue the thing, and whilst it may have made for some smoochy dances in Madrid discos, it sounds like a bad forerunner to "Spanish Eyes" to my ears.
Don't log off just yet, however, because the B-side is arguably one of the best mod tracks ever to be relegated to supporting status. In it, the young lothario of a lead singer lectures a girl who is not yet of legal age about her lies - "I saw the truth in your passport!" he splutters, backed by some pounding drums, vocal harmonies and crashing guitars The Who would have been proud of. A different kettle of fish to Gary Puckett's "Young Girl", it's an addictive and energetic piece of work which really should have been given A side status. Sadly, sitting on the flip of an undistinguished flop in Britain, it sank without trace until very recently, when it was dug up for inclusion on the "We Can Fly" series of compilation albums. It's the kind of irrepressible freakbeat the sixties was supposed to be full of, but in reality very few bands really let themselves go wild in quite the same manner.
Los Brincos split in 1968, but reformed again in 2000 due to popular demand with Spanish audiences, only to cease work altogether when their (brilliant) drummer and songwriter Fernando Arbex died in 2003.
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