With their twisted take on post-punk, Mungia natives Belako have been busy making a name for themselves at home in Spain and abroad for a few years now. Like Biffy Clyro, they’ve a knack for blending weird time signatures, a powerful sense of unpredictability and huge choruses like the maddest of scientists.
2013’s ‘Eurie’ saw them lean into the party-starting abrasion of the genre before an atmospheric evolution took place on ‘Hamen’ in 2016, while 2018’s ‘Render Me Numb, Trivial Violence’ exploded in a fit of riotous experimentation and gleeful rock’n’roll dreams. It’s little wonder they’ve been recruited by the likes of Liam Gallagher, DMA’s and Queens of The Stone Age to support them on tour in recent years.
It’s the soft reboot that comes with album number four that sees Belako finally poised to break out on their own thanks, in part, to their first international record deal with BMG. The band may have a new global audience to impress but there’s no fear here: ‘Plastic Drama’ is full of the kind of confidence it takes to be unforgettable. With sprawling breakdowns that lead into the hookiest of choruses, this record is Belako’s wildest adventure yet.
While fellow post-punkers Idles deal in stomping optimism and Fontaines D.C. dish out brooding meditations, Belako have this time gone for a glitching assault on the modern world. The record refuses to stay in one lane, though: opener ‘Tie Me Up’ is a scrappy burst of slacker-pop, ‘Truth’ captures the incendiary spirit of Britpop and ‘Truce’ blends snarling grunge with whip-smart guitar solos. Anything goes — as long as it can cause excitement.
The kaleidoscopic shuffle of ‘Plastic Drama’ does have a purposeful direction, though: the wild instrumentals are never indulgent and the warped mix of genres never sound unnatural. Refusing to waste a moment of the 35-minute run time, Belako are urgent but in control.
It’s the same for their lyrics. An album that’s out for equality, the furious ‘All Nerve’ sees Cristina Lizarraga outraged at the “failure in a system that protects femicide”, ‘Sirène’ shows their support for the LGBTQ+ community and the raucous ‘Profile Anxiety’ deals in online idol worship as Lizarraga asks: “Heard what you wanted to be told, saw what you wanted to be shown / Why do you care if it’s false?”
Instead of watering down their jagged world view, ‘Plastic Drama’ is a bold next step from a band who have never been afraid of the weird or the wonderful. At the start of tumbling punk anthem ‘The Craft’, Lizarraga declares: “Ours is the power / Now is the time”. With ‘Plastic Drama’, that sentiment couldn’t be more true as Belako step up and earn their place among the major players of the scene.
- Release date: August 28
- Record label: BMG