I’ve been listening to Hermana Hostia, a joint venture by the duo of Mattin and Iñigo Eguillor, in different conditions and settings, each time finding a way to better appreciate the sneering rants and dyslexic distortions of this bunch of “songs”, recorded by the protagonists on a computer using free GNU/Linux software but sounding to all intents and purposes like the cheapest cassette left in a car in a Las Vegas parking lot at 1:00pm in mid-August. On the train to Rome, gazing out at the sad landscapes of the urban peripheries I travel across every morning, La Grieta’s mumbling vocal impasse represents a sort of desperate, anti-social commentary by zombie-like presences that not even a brutal, pluri-overdriven guitar electroshock can revive. And it’s a shame that many people won’t be able decipher the lyrics: despite my own limited knowledge of Spanish/Basque idioms, there are some nice lines in there, my favourite one being “40 horas a la semana durante toda una vida pueden ser muy destructivas” (“40 hours a week a lifetime can be very destructive” – indeed it can, my friends, and it doesn’t even take a lifetime to realise it). Impregnated with bitter Velvet Underground-ness, abraded by gnarled swing (“Porvenir Desierto” remains fabulously repugnant) and ending with macabre exhalations of feedback poison, Hermana Hostia (“Sister Host”, for those who really need to know) is the goodbye letter of a clown who’s just lost his job and is about to self-destruct by drinking himself to death.


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