SPAIN: El Sentimiento Garrapatero que nos Traen las Flores - Los Delinqüentes
The unique 'tick-ish' feeling is something that these Andalusian flamenco-rockers transmit in abundance
Formed in Cádiz in 1998, Andalusian rock group Los Delinqüentes (and that’s not just a Spın̈al Tap style unnecessary heavy metal umlaut, the ü is there to signify to Spanish speakers that it is pronounced like the standard spelling ‘delincuentes’ meaning criminals, as opposed to ‘delin-kentes’) released El sentimiento garrapatero que nos traen las flores in 2001, combining elements of their regional music with rock. Singing in a flamenco-adjacent style that is reminiscent of such flamenco icons as Camarón de la Isla or the Gipsy Kings, Los Delinqüentes firmly established themselves as one of Spain’s leading exponents of rock the Andalusian style. That, to me, is the way to describe this band. They are firmly Andalusian, with influences from all over, but the music of their region of Spain is primary.
“It is rock music with a wide range of influences, and also a music that is intrinsically linked to the culture of the region from which its band members come from.”
Their Andalusian identity is even compounded in the name of their album, a name that is tricky to translate, in some respects. Broadly meaning a ‘garrapata’ is the Spanish word for a tick. The arachnid has come to symbolise the band, due to the fact that lead singer Miguel Ángel Benítez grew up in the countryside, and used to go out into the fields to catch ticks as a child for amusement, and as such, his invented term ‘garrapatero’ related to that slow, relaxed country lifestyle as well as things he felt were cool. The band themselves have broadened the term out to mean many things, but broadly meaning something natural, authentic, happy with itself. So, while the album title might literally mean ‘the tick-ish feeling that flowers bring us’, it can be widened out to many words, like cool, chilled, or relaxed, and that all comes from the lead singer’s childhood in Andalusia.
The music itself is mostly acoustic, with some pianos and synthesisers in the background. What really is remarkable is how grizzled and old the singers Benítez and Marcos del Ojo sound, despite them both being 19 at the time of recording. Their voices add so much to the album, as they sound like old flamenco performers turning their hands to rumba rock, whereas that’s not actually the case. Songs like A la luz del Lorenzo lean very close to classic flamenco, whereas a song like Tabanquero, possibly my favourite on the album though there are several strong contenders, leans more heavily into acoustic rock, and a song like Nube de pegatina or Fumata del ladrillo are both rumba inspired, but with flamenco-style vocals, which is an usual combination, but it most certainly works. As is sometimes the case, I find this to be a very even album with pretty much nothing I dislike about it, but also nothing that makes you think this is genius, or reinventing the genre it’s in. And that’s fine, not every album needs to reinvent the wheel and make you re-evaluate the way you think about music. There is also plenty of musical talent on display as well, with some guitar riffs and licks that wouldn’t be out of place on the speediest and most complex Gipsy Kings tracks. There’s certainly a huge amount of effort put into this, especially as it all sounds so clean and tight. Debut albums can sometimes be a mess, with enthusiasm making up for lack of experience, but not here, with each track produced very well, and the guitar and vocals enmesh perfectly.
On the whole, this is a very strong album, with much to enjoy in it. If you’re a fan of flamenco or acoustic rock, I think the album will be very much up your street, and even if you’re not so keen on the genres, I’d reckon it’s a good way to perhaps explore flamenco music in a more mainstream and radio-friendly manner than just simply diving into traditional flamenco. The three band members also have a very infectious enthusiasm and energy that permeates the album, meaning it’s hard to dislike these guys. It is rock music with a wide range of influences, and also a music that is intrinsically linked to the culture of the region from which its band members come from. The album does have a tragic footnote, however. Benítez, known as Migue, tragically died in 2004 at the unimaginably young age of 21 from a heart attack. The band continued without him for several years afterwards, but El sentimiento garrapatero que nos traen las flores acts as a final tribute to a talent lost far too soon.