A few weeks ago, I observed what seems to be a cresting trend of (female) artists incorporating the melodic verve of '90s rock with twangy flavorings. Reina del Cid divebombs into that wave headfirst, and damn do they make it sound good.
del Cid's lyrics are cutting. Her songs are vividly imagined, but they're brutally sharp. All of her songs are ambivalent: in "Where the Sun Always Shines" her rather persuasive description of Heaven is tempered by the protagonist's suicide. The mischievous "This One's Gonna Hurt" sounds much less fun coming after the first track, "Sweet Annie," which begins as a creepily possessive but sweet love song that is followed to its logical (and tragic) truth. The title track, "The Cooling," confirms that there is no afterlife after all -- just the vague horror as you feel your lifeforce drain out of you. The band has their lyrics posted on their Bandcamp page, and it is absolutely worth a read. If you're looking for examples of great songwriting, look no further. (Also, if you feel these songs are a bit of a downer, I just listened to del Cid's "Nerd Rap" and feel way better about life.)
But the full weight of the album only catches up with you if you listen close. Toni Lindgren's remarkable guitar slinging keeps things light. Lindgren kills it on the rollicking not-so-populist anthem "Of Mice and Men"and the reggae-influenced "Xanadu." Christopher Wiberg's and Zach Schmidt know to step out of the way when necessary, but their subtle bass and drums (respectively) keep these songs fresh and propulsive.
If this is only Reina del Cid's sophomore album, then their future work will truly be something to behold.
Reina del Cid -- Official, Facebook, Purchase from Bandcamp, Purchase from Big Cartel