After releasing Yawners’ debut album in 2019, Elena Nieto found herself at the end of a whirlwind year. Her debut LP Just Calm Down showcased the Madrid musician’s love for huge, hooky alternative rock moments chased with the hummable accessibility of power pop. It was a combination destined to set the international stage ablaze. After gracing stages at SXSW in the U.S. and Eurosonic in the Netherlands, the pandemic caused Nieto to reflect on the present moment through the lessons of the past. The exciting songwriter returns in 2022, newly signed to Big Scary Monsters (UK), she releases a brand-new album on May 6th, Duplo, and shares a blistering new track and video, ‘Rivers Cuomo’, taken from the album. The Weezer man himself said “this is a really pretty song” upon hearing it.

“I usually write very literal songs, I don’t usually use metaphors or anything like that, and this is the perfect example,” says Elena, talking about the track. She expands; “The song is about writer’s block; it’s about trying to write a song and not coming up with anything good.” Although Yawners remains a solo project, the track bursts with the muscle of an entire backing band, the perfect vehicle for the songwriter’s fully formed ideas and soaring punk-influenced melodies.

Elena tried a trick to overcome her writer’s block, which she learned from Cuomo when writing the album. “I really like Weezer and Rivers Cuomo has always made me curious. When I was in the process of composing the album, I read an interview in a Chilean newspaper in which he revealed a trick he has developed to write songs. He has an Excel file in which he writes phrases, chord progressions, and more, and creates songs with a formula that puts together the bits and pieces that match. I thought this was really cool and I wrote the chorus of my song about this. On a melodic level, I am very proud of the guitar solo in this song. Guitar solos are something that seems not to be trendy anymore, but the reality is that when a well-done solo appears in a song it’s very hard not to enjoy it haha.”

Having established herself at the forefront of the blossoming Spanish guitar pop scene with a series of early singles followed by her debut LP Just Calm Down, Nieto found herself earning praise from NPR, The Line of Best Fit, DIY, Flood Mag and more for her potent songwriting. She crafts effortlessly engaging pop songs, weaving ‘90s college rock and skate punk influences into nostalgia-inducing, lovelorn tracks that showcase a mix of stunning compositional dexterity and enchanting melodies. Nieto, who is a translator and speaks Spanish, German, and English fluently, has a refreshingly direct approach, imbued with playfulness and humour – but with the range to find moments of emotional resonance that would not be out of place beside her musical heroes, Husker Du, American Football and Weezer.

Previous articleAlone Again – Ava Vox (reviewed by Dave Franklin)
Next articleSheffield quintet return with post-punk rager ‘En Route Distress’
Musician, scribbler, historian, gnostic, seeker of enlightenment, asker of the wrong questions, delver into the lost archives, fugitive from the law of averages, blogger, quantum spanner, left footed traveller, music journalist, zenarchist, freelance writer, reviewer and gemini. People have woken up to worse.

Leave a Reply