Though Second has been blipping on the outskirts of my radar, it was not until a few weeks ago that this veteran band consumed my complete attention. I knew them as a Spanish band (from Murcia, España) that sung in English. However, by the time they recorded their third album, Spanish songs started to seep into their repertoire. Their fourth album and now their fifth, “Demasiado Soñadores” [“Too Many Dreamers” – all translations my own] (15 March 2011 as digital download in the USA, 5 April 2011 as a hard copy import), were recorded in Spanish (I cannot confirm if they will or will not produce new music in English in the future). With a vast number of musical references that span decades (David Bowie, Blur, The Cure, Joy Division, The Kinks, and (The London) Suede), Second is essentially a brilliant rock band that only happens to sing in Spanish. Devoid of any obvious influence from Spanish (or Latin) music on “Demasiado Soñadores,” what you get is a Spanish band that is as trendy, cutting edge, and relevant as any of their American or British brethren.
One of the things I love most about this album is the diversity in musical references. Unlike their American and British brethren, this is not a band content on reviving the 70s, 80s, or 90s. Instead they are able to swirl around all of their musical influences in and amongst themselves in each song. It may be odd to think that Britpop can meet post-punk, not to mention glamrock, but much like their Spanish singing contemporaries (Hello Seahorse! and TheMistake), their outside perspective of current musical trends is an advantage. Not being slumped in a “scene” allows them to write music in a specific style without giving into clichés or tropes that other bands have done to death.
The album opens with “N.A.D.A.” [“N.O.T.H.I.N.G.”] – a narrative of a seeing someone whom you have broken up with again after eleven months – bordering on synthrock, the song retains the sophisticated arrangements of Britpop while incorporating an electronic feel to it. Then the titular track “Demasiado Soñadores” chimes in with a very poppy post-punk meets disco revival feel, with some harsh criticisms: “Demasiado soñadores, persiguiendo perfecciones que aprendieron a moverse con estilo y con tacones. Demasiado soñadores, caminando por el borde, ya no cuenta lo de antes, solo importa lo que viene.” [“Too many dreamers, chasing perfection, that have learned to operate with style and in high heels. Too many dreamers, walking on the edge, no longer caring what came before, only what comes next.”] Immediately followed up by “Muérdeme” [“Bite Me” – in a literal sense, not the dismissive exclamation], which is a lot like the post-punk revival of The Killers or (mid-career) The Bravery.
The album is loaded with one gem after the other. I could easily give my two bits on each of these songs. From the anthemic “Mañana es Domingo” [“Tomorrow Is Sunday”] to the grandiose “En Pequeñas Cosas” [“In Small Things”], the band continuously generates music that is fresh and vibrant, but most importantly relevant to today’s musical trends. My favorite track on the album is “Autodestructivos” [“Self-Destructive”] – laced with a funky bass and one hook after the other, this song is the very definition of suave. “Siento comunicar que mañana ya no existe … Siento comunicar que no se compra que no se tiene. Ya ho hay sueños, ya no yah nada. Lentamente me convences, hagamos esta noche algo distinto, seremos autodestructivos” [“Sorry to say that tomorrow no longer exists … Sorry to say that you cannot buy what you lack. There are no more dreams, there is nothing. Slowly you convince me, let’s do something different tonight, let’s be self-destructive.”]
I think what makes the English-speaking work a bit different from others when it comes to music is the reluctance to entertain music in another language. The reality is that English sung music dominates the world's music scenes. So I am hoping that that will not be an obstacle in giving Second’s “Demasiado Soñadores” a much deserved chance. This album could easily end up as my personal favorite of the year ... solid craftsmanship, spot on production, infectious music, lyrically spanning tongue-in-cheek to bombast poetry, and just a great experience from beginning to end.
1. N.A.D.A. [N.O.T.H.I.N.G.]
2, Demasiado Soñadores [Too Many Dreamers]
3. Muérdeme [Bite Me]
4. Mañana es Domingo [Tomorrow Is Sunday]
5. Aquella Fotografia [That Photograph]
6. Autodestructivos [Self-Destructive]
7. Psicopatico [Psychopath]
8. En Pequeñas Cosas [In Small Things]
9. De Buenos Aires [From Buenos Aries]
10. Prototipo [Prototype]
11. Tu Alrededor [You Around]
Keep up with Second at their homepage, MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter.
Here are the videos for “N.A.D.A.” and “Muérdeme” from the SECONDMUSIC YouTube Channel.