March 2, 2015

El Hollín: Una Tuesday Review

(Independent Release) The problem with Tunabunny is, they’re never around when you want ‘em to be. You can spin their albums 50 times in a summer, but they’ll always be just out of reach. Enter El Hollín. Sure, this local crew never ventures far from lo-fi strumming-and-drumming, and Dena Zilber’s lyrics are not exactly erudite. But that is the band’s charm; its blue-eyed, prosaic vibe should resonate with any Shaggs or Raincoats fan.

Plus, in spite of their shaky stance, El Hollín turns out solid tunes. Folk-nothing—these are pop songs, shy but honest. And while Una Tuesday sounds monochromatic at first blush, it contains a range of emotion, from droopy ballads (“Plait“) to drafty accordion monologue (“Painted Houses”) to my favorite, the terse and angsty “Marbles.”

John Fernandes lends his signature violin to the mix, but El Hollín doesn’t really need it, not with the perfectly off-key ukulele, or the horns that blare a tad too much, or the guitars that rush to keep up and stumble on the wrong chords. Una Tuesday is no magnum opus—certainly no Genius Fatigue—but that’s exactly why I dig it.