Los Bitchos: Let The Festivities Begin!

Party may not be a verb, and Prince Andrew may never have really “partied”, but Los Bitchos are known as the live band to provide the perfect soundtrack to some Tequila-slamming, Sambuca-flaming, Jäger-bombing nights on the town [note: please drink in moderation].

Those nights can now be re-created at home with the assistance of Los Bitchos’ debut album, Let The Festivities Begin! The album follows a series of now difficult to find singles “Tripping Party” (limited cassette released for Cassette Store Day 2017), “Bugs Bunny” (lathe cut 7” vinyl, 2018), “Panther” (a split double release on cassette for Cassette Store Day 2018 with Ghost Car), “Pista (Great Start)” (7” vinyl, 2019 and 2020) and “The Link Is About To Die” (7” vinyl, 2020).

The band embrace an element of hedonistic excess, and this may extend to their listeners. It’s been recently rumoured (although not confirmed) that Los Bitchos are the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s favourite group, with their music often on the stereo of 10 Downing Street as another suitcase of wine is demolished.

Wine is not necessarily the tipple of choice on the album. It’s understood that the atmospheric “Tripping at a Party” does not relate to clumsily falling over at a party, but taking a journey into the stratosphere with hallucinogenic drugs. The playful “Try the circle!”, which combines psychedelia and spaghetti westerns, is apparently the result of an experience with magic mushrooms.

Los Bitchos are an international band; Serra Petale (guitar, Western Australia), Agustina Ruiz (keytar, Uruguay), Josefine Jonsson (bass, Sweden) and Nic Crawshaw (drums, England) are from different parts of the world but met in London. Petale says that she wanted the band to sound like Van Halen and Cocteau Twins – but from Turkey, and Let The Festivities Begin! certainly has an appealingly broad sound, a blend of Peruvian chicha, Argentine cumbia, Turkish psych and surf guitars.

The album is almost entirely instrumental, with spirited playing by the band. The carefree rhythm of “Change of Heart” (a revamped version of “Bugs Bunny”) builds to a frenzy and the driving bass of the disco-funk “Las Panteras” propels the track into high energy. “The Link Is About To Die” has a great upbeat hook.

Many of the tracks have a Latin, cumbia influence, and include space age washes of synth, psychedelic-rock guitar and percussion (timbales, bongos, cowbells and shakers). Single “Pista (Great Start)” is renamed “Pista (Fresh Start)” for the album, and loops enthusiastically with whoops and hollers, the guitar line sounding like it’s being beamed in by Duane Eddy, lost in deepest Mexico.

The song titles are peppy and the performances more so. “I Enjoy It”, with a rare section of vocal, is energetic fun. “Lindsay Goes to Mykonos” is a warm blast of musical sunshine, and was inspired by the reality TV show of the same name, in which American actress and singer-songwriter Lindsay Lohan opens a luxury beach hotel on the Greek party paradise island. There’s some great technical and virtuoso playing on “FFS” and the guitar shredding “Good to Go!”.

The album was produced by Alex Kapranos with much of his vintage gear, and there’s a determined, snappy musicianship on Let The Festivities Begin! akin to Kapranos’ Franz Ferdinand. Fans of American musical trio Khruangbin will be delighted with this European-based alternative; enjoy liberally with a Strawberry Spritz or Mezcal Mule [note 2: binge drinking not recommended].

 

Available on purple vinyl, light green vinyl (Rough Trade), light blue vinyl (Dinked edition, with “party bag”), opaque pink vinyl (VMP), black vinyl, CD and download.

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Label: City Slang
Release Date: 04 FEB 2022