LA CASA AZUL
I first heard La Casa Azul at 4am in their native country. Hammock-bound after an exhaustive day's exposure to a 35°C sun and even hotter music (yes, I went there), I passed by an Elefant Records stall which was playing some wonderfully bouncy music. Despite being full on that day's gluttonies of Animal Collective, The Go! Team, Patrick Wolf and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, I was compulsed to find out who was behind the sugary sweetness that was quickly eroding my teeth and ears. The guy at the counter pointed towards a t-shirt which featured four grinning cartoon figures and I instantly realised that this pop group must be Spain's equivalent of the likes of Steps, S-Club 7 or Aqua. I was later to discover that La Casa Azul is actually the mysterious solo project of a musician called Guille Milkyway. But far from being one of those millionaire pop masterminds who have inexplicably found fame as-of-late, Milkyway is a bearded and unmistakably "indie" music boffin who seeks to modernise disco and surf rock from the 60's and 70's. It even transpired that on the fateful early morning that I first heard his music, he was working at the stall next to Elefant Records selling t-shirts and bags; far removed from the world of private jets and a spin-off TV series set in Los Angeles.
Lots of bands nowadays compose 'kitschy' music in an ironic style and try to sculpt it into something more credible, varied and substantial. Why bother! Listen to La Casa Azul and you will hear shameless midi synths, female backing vocals, handclaps and vocoders. One song even sounds a bit like 'I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day'! It's like the most exciting elements of Electric Light Orchestra, Of Montreal, Leo Sayer, The Jackson 5 and Abba have been channeled through a blender and outputted in Spanish. It also proves that music in Spain consists of a lot more than drunken karaoke editions of 'I Will Survive' and 'Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da'.
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