So La Roux scored a Mercury Prize nomination for best British album. Are you kidding me? They have a couple of good tunes and make a fairly convincing Eurythmics tribute band but that's about it. If you want a truly classy electro/synth-pop listening experience look no further than Spain's La Prohibida. The stunningly gorgeous drag sensation has recorded the album that La Roux and Little Boots tried and ultimately failed to make. "Sr. Kubrick, ¿Qué Haría Usted?" ("Mr Kubrick, What Would You Do?") is a beautifully conceived exploration of different dance sub-genres from the 70s, 80s and 90s - blending elements of space disco, Hi-NRG, Italo disco, Eurobeat and French house music. I guess you could even call it a concept album of sorts. The predominant themes are sci-fi and space related, making it an extremely fabulous homage to David Bowie's "Ziggie Stardust". However, don't make the mistake of dismissing "Sr. Kubrick, ¿Qué Haría Usted?" as a camp novelty. La Prohibida has created one of the year's best pop albums. An astonishing achievement when you take into account the fact that she probably funded it by giving blow jobs in the toilets at Polana. Here is my track by track review:
Valentina Terechkova was the first female astronaut and this beautiful song pays tribute to that Soviet maverick. In fact, I think La Prohibida is channelling Valentina on the album cover as well. The track itself is an incredibly convincing attempt at reviving the now defunct 70s genre of space disco. I love the wistful chorus, which shines against a galaxy of beautiful bleeps and beeps. This is stunning opening number.
Cuando Dos Electrones Chocan (When Two Electrons Collide)
The 80s synths arrive for this brilliant dance anthem. "Cuando Dos Electrones Chocan" is one of the most straightforward pop numbers on the album and I think it would make a great single. At times I even hear a slight Stock Aitken Waterman influence but overall the sound is definitely more continental. The likes of Sandra and Spagna would be proud to call this track their own.
One Way Interrail
Eurovision fans might remember this as La Prohibida's entry in Spanish qualifying a couple of years ago. The fact that it wasn't selected is the biggest scandal since Las Supremas de Móstoles were robbed in 2005. Anyway, it's probably for the best. Eurovision isn't ready for this much glamour. "One Way Interrail" is the campest thing on "Sr. Kubrick, ¿Qué Haría Usted?" but it's still a great hands in the air anthem. I'd love to meet La Prohibida at Atocha for a nice train ride.
La Conexión (The Connection)
"La conexión" proves that La Prohibida is not a one trick pony by belting out this touching ballad with as much conviction her dance anthems. I love the space imagery, the soft synths and the sweetness of La Prohibida's vocal delivery. Despite the fact that I can't understand the lyrics, I want to walk down the aisle to this song when I marry Miguel from "Física o Química". This and Tina Turner's "Better Be Good To Me"!
La Química Me Ha Dado Lo Que Tú No Me Das (Drugs Give Me What You Don't)
I think the title translates as "Drugs Give Me What You Don't" and I couldn't agree more. MDMA with a Vodka chaser is better than any man. That aside, this is one of my favourite songs on the album. The intro sounds like it has been lifted straight from Kylie's "Love At First Sight" and the rest is just as Minogue-tastic. Little Boots wishes she could rip off Kylie with this much flair! I love the floaty beats and catchy chorus.
Estas Donde Tienes Que Estar (You Are Where You Have To Be)
This song is so relentlessly joyous and cheerful that it's impossible not to get swept up in its Eurobeat fabulousness. There's also a touch of 90s Hi-NRG about this little gem, which makes it even more endearing. Not the greatest song on the album but it's the kind of filler Soraya would sell her Botox needles to get her lovely hands on.
Esto No Es Amor (This Is Not Love)
There are so many stunning tracks on this album that need to be translated into English and covered by Dannii. My first choice would be "Esto No Es Amor" because it kind of reminds me of "I Begin To Wonder". La Prohibida dusts off synths not heard since the days of Dead Or Alive and Human League on this throbbing little pop number.
Yo En Saturno, Tú En Aranjuez (I'm on Saturn, You're in Aranjuez)
I'm pretty sure Aranjuez is a town near Madrid, so I think this little number deals with long distance relationships - from space! The production is really cute. It's retro without sounding dated. This scintillating 80s inspired dance anthem would have sounded amazing on "Miss Sanchez" instead of all those boring ballads. Maybe La Prohibida can write her next album.
Nunca Más - Dúo Con Spunky (Never Ever - Duet With Spunky)
Speaking of Marta, "Nunca Más" is the upbeat, trash equivalent of "Colgando En Tus Manos" - only La Prohibida is more glamorous than Miss Sanchez and Spunky is less sexy than Carlos Baute. Well, I assume because I have no idea who Spunky is. Anyway, I love this duet. It's cute and catchy with a very memorable chorus. My only problem is distinguishing La Prohibida from Spunky in the verses.
Menos Mal (Thank Goodness)
"Menos Mal" is four minute trip to camp Europop heaven. I love the 80s drum machine and the Stock Aitken Waterman-esque production. Even the shooting star sound effects sound like they have been dragged kicking and screaming from the 80s. There's a sweetness and simplicity about this track that I find extremely appealing. Las Hermanas Goggi should cover this and make a comeback.
Sr. Kubrick, ¿Qué Haría Usted? (Mr Kubrick, What Would You Do?)
The title track returns to the slinky space disco beats of "Terechkova". Only this is slightly more distinctive and eccentric. I love the waves of 80s synths and keyboards. "Sr. Kubrick, ¿Qué Haría Usted?" is a beautifully constructed track. The production is sparkling and the space elements are convincing, making this an unusual yet irresistible piece of sci-fi disco/pop!
El Mundo Alrededor (Around The World)
It seems only fitting that La Prohibida finish such a great album on a high and "El Mundo Alrededor" more than fits the bill. This is a real opus. The song re-visits the space theme that runs through the album but on a completely different scale. The space disco elements are strongly represented but they are mixed with French house beats and even a gospel component towards the end. Few songs ever manage to sound as epic and beautiful.
ALBUM RATING: 9.5/10
More talented than Malena Gracia, prettier than Rosana and younger than Isabel Pantoja - La Prohibida is a unique and wonderful addition to the canon of amazing Spanish pop divas. "Sr. Kubrick, ¿Qué Haría Usted?" is highly recommended and is now available to download from Australian, US and UK iTunes.