Although shockingly young, MOURN has been through more in their short existence than many bands encounter in their entire careers. With the “Barcelona City Tour,” the band’s first release since 2015, they’ve painted a picture of declaration and intent.
It’s no surprise that they’ve adopted the indie/punk sound from the early 90s—a lot of us lived that scene in real time, but the band (comprised of Carla Pérez Vas and Jazz Rodríguez Bueno on vocals and guitar, Leia Rodríguez on bass and Antonio Postius on drums) hadn’t even been born. Yet, almost as if trying to close the gap between their influences and their own music, they released their first self-titled album when they were still in their teens. When it came time to release their second album in 2015, they ran into legal trouble with their Spanish label, Sones, who were effectively holding the LP hostage. The whole process left a sour taste in their mouths, pushing them further into their trepidation of times.
So, when you watch this video, teeming with playful energy—almost carefree—but with a gooey coat of anger underneath, you really get a sense of where this band wants to go. They are wiser and more keen on the fact that their industry can be as corrupt and tumultuous as the current politics of their country (and ours, for that matter), and they’re pissed.
“Barcelona City Tour” takes you all across the gorgeous city through a youthful lens, but not a naive one. They wail “They may shut up, but I’ll stand out. What a shame / you’re not ashamed,” while romping around in jeans and windbreakers, soon to end up at a party in chunky sweaters and sweatshirts. Their casual style is, in a way, as punk as it gets. Everything, down to the square and compact format of the video favored over the more modern widescreen, is calling back to a time that they never knew themselves, a time they’ve idealized via their taste in music. With this song and this video, MOURN is pushing forward by reaching back into the past, taking hints from bands like Sleater Kinney, Throwing Muses, and adding their own incredibly fresh flare.
The song itself is, of course, the centerpiece, with guitar riffs shoving past each other as the bass works with the drums to keep the song tugging forwards. The fact that the young Spaniards have written everything in a language that isn’t their own doesn’t work against them at all. Without being entirely familiar with inflections and cadence of English phrases, they’ve added in a certain strangeness in their pentameter. It works perfectly with the frantic guitars and the eager lyrics, making this song irresistibly infectious.
Everything about this release is exciting, and the anticipation of seeing how they channel their frustration and nostalgia next is almost too much to bear.