Spanish punks Neuvo Catecismo Católico have been cranking out tunes since the early/mid 90s. Despite being fairly prolific, they’ve not always gained a huge following outside of their home country due to the core of their material not being in English, but a trawl through a sizable back catalogue presents some great music. Exploration of past works also shows a band who more than know their way around a decent melody.
Despite having their career derailed due to a pandemic and subsequent lockdown during 2020, they approached 2021 with best foot forward and their ‘Quermos La Verdad’ single blended a brilliantly melodic punk rock riff with a tough power pop stance. Armed with a ringing guitar riff in a classic style and a rousing gang vocal, it very much called back to the late 70s, while still retaining a typical Nuevo Catecismo cool. Their follow up two track release, ‘Quarantine Blues’ actually stands a good chance of being a breakout track for them in the UK and US, not only due to its classic pop punk stance, but also since it features a guest vocal from cult power pop hero Kurt Baker. A Spanish resident for a number of years, Kurt has built up a strong relationship with the country’s punk and power pop scenes, both as a member of K7s and via his Kurt Baker Combo being regulars on the grass roots live scene. With that in mind, a collaboaration with Neuvo Catecismo Católico seems like the most natural thing in the world.
The combination of Baker’s curly voiced, power pop cool and the band’s driving punk sounds works excellently throughout ‘Quarantine Blues’ itself. The music begins with a strong pop punk riff, which is quickly underscored by a confident garage punk lead guitar, with Iker Illarramendi throwing out a busy, high toned sound. The verse continues with a genuine strength – punky, yet never opting for the most obvious Ramones-obessed route. Neuvos approach everything exactly how they would normally; there’s a fierce energy, but always an ear on melody. Once Baker steps up to the mic to flesh out the chorus and second verse, his distinctive tones automatically lend a slightly more melodic feel, but by falling squarely between the K7s and the Combo’s ‘In Orbit’ LP fromn 2016, it quickly becomes of great interest. By the time everyone hits the second chorus where Kurt harmonises with frontman Gonzalo Ibanez and the rest of the band indulge in a gang vocal by way of a call and response, everything becomes so rousing, you couldn’t help but love it.
Joining that superb tune, the even better ‘Rock a la Radio’ sounds more like something Baker bought to the table with its mix of power pop, trashy rock ‘n’ roll riff and a musical heart firmly pumping in 1978. There’s something about the pub rock base and general groove that sounds like a super-charged Graham Parker number, but an overdriven guitar sound often brings everything further in line with Neuvo’s punk core. An insanely catchy hook will be enough to win over fans and new ears alike from the first listen – whether in English or otherwise – making these two minutes are a fantastic showcase for all involved.
If you weren’t aware of Neuvo Catecismo Católico previously, this is the kind of release that really could change everything. It may only be a quick two song hit, but between its power, some hugely infectious hooks and all round carefree spirit (despite being inspired by a global disaster), it’s a hugely rousing listen that’s not to be missed.