Los Smokings get a little high with Paracetamol, but not enough

Taking influences from punk and alternative subgenres (ranging from pop-punk to old school to modern punk and post punk), “Paracetamol” finds Los Smokings as a quite imperfect, yet sometimes promising alternative rock outfit. While delivering some thrills and memorable moments, there are many aspects to keep working on.

The punk influence in the sound and vision of the band is most visible, although not always with good results. The heavier tracks (“Cabron”, “Welcome to the club”, “Maldita represion”) reflect more traditional punk attack, sometimes with a bit of modern post punk rhythms and flourishes (“Welcome to the club”, “Estrella de rock”) and somewhat-virtuous touches in the guitar. However, while the rhythms and melodies might be somewhat catchy (especially “Cabron”) or at least rousing, the lyrics and the singing on these tracks veer into very juvenile punk angst, which derails them completely. The singer’s voice, which isn’t the best and has got an annoying inflection to it, is also affected by unnecessary production and manipulation.

There are bright spots on the record, though. The second half of it is slightly more melodic and less angry. The lead single, “Suicida”, is a very effective piece of modern indie pop-punk, the hooks and ringing riffs combined with the more serious, yet not juvenile lyrics. Same happens for the title track, a bit surprising with its slower, bluesier tempo and sound; this one is inferior, though, because of its unnecessarily prolonged length and not-so-inspired lyrics. Perhaps the best and catchiest tracks are the last two, “Pilar” and “La vida cambia”, which even feature keyboards and refreshing indie and jangle pop touches while still having serious lyrics.

Overall, “Paracetamol” is somewhat of an enjoyable record, although it has its flaws. On one hand, it has sometimes too much juvenile angst in sound, lyrics, and singing. On the other hand, the band can be melodic and sometimes very catchy, and if Los Smokings grows up it will be able to capitalize on this.

Stars: ★★★☆☆

Review of the album “Paracetamol” by Los Smokings, written by Carlos Navia.

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