Spanish Love Songs - No Joy
Painstakingly honest lyricism and rousing punk rock tunes have helped his band to steadily grow in popularity over the last eight years, but this fourth album shows that they’re still capable of surprises. – Kerrang (4/5)
with No Joy, the punk scene’s resident doomsayers are carving their own path in order to come out on top. In a world that often feels like nobody can win, Spanish Love Songs are doing what they can to feel victorious – Exclaim! (8/10)
this record is a masterclass in emotive storytelling – Punknews (4.5/5)
I think it’s safe to say No Joy is incredibly nuanced, which isn’t really something that can be said about the band’s previous material. There’s just a lot more to unravel here than usual, and all the extra touches work well without diluting the band’s charm. – Sputnik Music (5/5)
The vulnerable and, once again, honest lyrics Slocum brings to the table are only here because of the rest of the band. Meredith Van Woert on keyboards, Kyle McAulay on guitar, Trevor Dietrich on bass, and Ruben Duarte on drums set each song’s atmosphere and overall vibe. – Dying Scene (10/10)
Brimming with new wave pastiche, fluttering synths, shimmering walls of chorus guitar, and four-on-the-floor rhythms, ‘No Joy’ isn’t an exclamation point follow-up to the emotional catharsis of the landmark ‘Brave Faces Everyone’ as much as it is an exhale – the sound of vocalist and guitarist Dylan Slocum, his wife and keyboardist Meredith Van Woert, guitarist Kyle McAulay, bassist Trevor Dietrich, and drummer Ruben Duarte finding peace in quieter moments and embracing the negative space.
“This is the closest we’ve ever gotten to figuring out how to translate what I hear in my head with more clarity,” Slocum says.
Produced by the band and Collin Pastore (Lucy Dacus, Julien Baker, Illuminati Hotties) and mixed by Carlos de la Garza (Paramore, M83, Best Coast), the 12 songs on ‘No Joy’ continue to find Spanish Love Songs grappling with the messiness of what it means to be alive in the modern age – unsure of the answers themselves but confident that together, we can all come a little closer to the solutions.
If ‘Brave Faces Everyone’ was about mustering up the strength to barely break even in an increasingly bleak world, ‘No Joy’ is finding the internal peace required to stay in the black. As Slocum says, “it’s an album about finding happiness in what you have and your current moment. It might be your best moment, or it might not, but you have to find joy in it.”
Since 2013, the LA-formed indie-punk quintet Spanish Love Songs have made hay on the backs of a string of beloved albums – 2015’s Giant Sings The Blues, 2018’s Schmaltz and 2020’s Brave Faces Everyone – lauded by critics and fans alike for their richly personal, no-holds-barred lyricism awash in existential dread, hyper-personal cultural ruminations and attempts to answer life’s big questions.