Migala was a rock-based experimental band hailing from Madrid, Spain. The band was known for its complex, varied, and often cathartic musical arrangements, heavily influenced by post-rock, folk, and traditional Spanish music. El Hijo (“The Son”) is Abel Hernández, whose sheltering voice used to appear on Migala and now delivers his second solo album after a couple of EPs and a debut album (“Las otras Vidas”, 2007).
“Madrileña” offers 10 new tunes sung in Spanish that thrive in a personal songwriting coming from both Hernández’s emotional and musical roots, where chamber pop collides with orchestral folk ballads in a graceful blend of storytelling (many of the songs are about several characters living in Madrid) and rich instrumentation. Anyone with a soft spot for Sufjan Stevens, Iron & Wine or Pascal Comelade could fall for El Hijo as well.
Madrid does not exist. Madrid is just a stage, decorated and dirty at the same time. Full of lights, at times covered in darkness. It is a messy backdrop in which the characters, often enthusiastic, often lonely and unhappy, wander in this collection of stories about homelessness. A chronicle in the shape of an album which with El Hijo comes up with a new genre, the “Madrileña”, a melancholic kind of tune about the complex sentimental adventures of the people who are alone and living in big cities
With his second album (although with Raül Fernandez again in charge of production and arrangements) El Hijo makes an unexpected twist in his path and delivers an inspired and brilliant repertoire in which he deconstructs the intimate folk of his debut into some kind of urgent, psychedelic pop about urban (and suburban) nuisances.
An album about love. Love can be confusing, troubled, obsessive; can be a fantasy; can literally be frozen; it can be bright and optimistic, or heroic. Or it just may not be, which is probably the most terrible form of love. As in “Quebradizo y transparente (Madrileña)” album’s title track, and also the simplest, the most touching: just Hernández's unique voice (deep and rich, like an early Leonard Cohen if he were more of a crooner.
Various stories being told, from dirty realism to bitter surrealism, the “Madileñas” songs of El Hijo are full of recurring metaphors, of twists and turns, like the love lives of the inhabitants of a big, broad, cruel but beloved city. A city that, in this case, is called Madrid.
released March 13, 2010
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