The Mojo Fins – Circa
Grasshopper’s new EP ‘Circle Time’ starts with an eerie thirty seconds of searching keyboard instrumental before the first proper track begins with a bass slathered in so much chorus it could be The Cure in 1982. ‘Rico’s Revenge’ is almost an instrumental, getting through two atmospheric minutes before restarting and leading us to a short, nostalgic vocal refrain. The nostalgia seems odd when you consider how young the minds that created this music are, this is the second EP from grasshopper and they’ve been playing the Brighton circuit for two years now despite the fact we suspect the average age of the band is a mere seventeen.
Formed 12 years ago it took The Moulettes a while to really get going, releasing their debut album on the Southampton based musical co-operative Sotones in 2010. Since then they have based themselves in Brighton, toured with the likes of The Levellers, headlined their own tours, released the acclaimed second album The Bear's Revenge, and become a regular fixture on the festival circuit.
Thought Forms/Esben and the Witch (split LP)
What an inspired coupling! The vocals of Roger Daltrey and the Telecaster guitar of Wilko Johnson. Although both qualify for bus passes these days and are only four years apart in age, fame came to them in different decades, Daltrey idolised at an early age with The Who, while Johnson only came through a decade later with the pre-punk, pub-rocking Dr. Feelgood, who at their height reached number one in the album charts with Stupidity, a live album released in 1976.
The Kooks recently unveiled a new song ‘Down’ which is due for release alongside three brand new tracks on 20th April. This is the first new material to come from the band since 2011’s ‘Junk of the Heart’. ‘Down’ has been described by the group as a mission statement for their forthcoming fourth album and it is a major departure from the more familiar sound of earlier releases. This time round they have worked very closely with hip-hop artist Inflo, who is credited as both co-writer and co-producer on ‘Down’.
On first listen I have to admit I honestly thought this song might have been a joke. To my ears Pritchard’s already distinctive vocal sounds like a caricature of itself. The surprise change of sound, from crisp indie pop to a more sample-led hip-hop inspired production is jarring. It seems to be a bit on the cluttered side: there are several layers of vocals and jangly guitars competing on top of what sounds like an old skool hip-hop break but may well be their drummer sampled and layered with percussion. After repeated listens The Kooks clear ear for melody wins out and I find myself warming to the track.
It seems The Kooks are taking a bit of a gamble by trying an approach which may alienate a lot of their core fan base. You have to respect them for trying something new and following their muse but for a lead single this just seems kind of messy. Here’s hoping they’ve got better material hidden up their sleeves and this is just a little teaser to break people into their new sound.