Under Review

Under Review: Lo Siento, Brujas


(Self-released); 14/03/2019

Hana Golightly

It is easy to imagine Lo Siento’s second album Brujas as a dream project that turned out exactly right — just how the band thought it should be when they began. The pastel cover art, designed by lead singer and songwriter Pepa Chan, works in tandem with the synth-peppered upbeat tracks, contributing to an overall feeling of entering a cartoon dreamworld.

Hailing from St. John’s, Newfoundland, Lo Siento is a Spanish language punk band made up of Pepa Chan (vocals/guitar), Allison Graves (drums), and Andrea McGuire (bass/backing vocals), joined by Jake Nicoll on keys and synths for their sophomore album. Brujas is a self-released follow up to 2017’s Bingo Bango, and generally stays true to its predecessor’s sound and upbeat pace, the sugary melodies getting even sweeter with the addition of Nicoll’s synths. Brujas makes you feel like you want to run around the city and set something on fire – and for non-Spanish-speakers, this perception even arises from atmosphere alone.

Upon a deeper dive into the lyrics, Chan’s high-pitched saccharine vocals belie their complexity, tackling subjects like loss, insomnia, and not giving a shit about other people’s opinions. The songs get grittier as the album progresses, each track hurtling toward its conclusion with relentless energy. “Otro Planeta” stands out for its wistful undertones, as Chan sings about an imagined escape to another planet, ending with the repeated refrain “mi cuerpo se debilita” – “my body weakens.”

The album is just as easily imagined in front of a crowd of confused yet curious 5 year olds as it is in a mosh pit of sweaty adults. It’s the kind of music you can dance to with any sort of abandon – joyous or otherwise. A bandcamp comment on Lo Siento’s first album Bingo Bango puts it simply: “Obnoxious yet lovable, like a toddler or a small dog.” This comment makes sense in the kindest possible way, a nod to the enthusiasm and frenetic energy of a band simply making music that makes them happy.