Brighton three-piece power-pop punk project Lazybones have put together a hugely enjoyable four-track romp of an EP that will have your head nodding. There’s not much in the way of depth and complexity in Bang! Bang! but with a bass this dirty and songs so catchy, who really cares.
Fashion Victim kicks us off, making full use of vocalist Candi Underwood’s lung capacity as she belts out a tirade against conformity and clothing choices. As I mentioned, we’re not going too deep here, but it does contain the line ‘You wear your Metallica T, but where’s you Kill ‘Em All‘ CD?’, so all is forgiven.
Next up is Heart Beats Like a Drum, which sees dirty, heavy bass employed to create a feeling akin to early hypnotic Queens Of The Stone Age tracks. My favourite track on the EP
We then enter strange territory with what appears to be an ode to jeans with Denim. Odd, but otherwise this is a bouncy number that keeps the record ticking along nicely and sees some of the organ work enter the spotlight.
Closer All My Friends Are Dead sounds like it might be a pretty serious number, but no such worries as we move between some staccato riffs, 60s influenced organ and a full on rock-out chorus.
Hopefully Bang! Bang! is a sign of things to come and Lazybones will managed to pull together a full album of fun garage pop rock anthems like these.
Yak‘s second album sees them grinding out some pretty heavy sounds, recalling the likes of Sabbath and Zep alongside more recent psych and stoner rock. But they’ve also managed to add in some elements of doo-wop and swing along the way, making Pursuit of Momentary Happiness the most intriguing album of the week.
Bellyache get us underway with a nice bit of distored funky wah-wah guitar and a heavy bass line, that contrasts well with its high pitched chorus. As a opening track it show us that Yak are at the peak of their game.
We get more bluesy on Fried, but the groove-laden bass continues – it’s a track that stoner rock fans will find hard not to appreciate.
Title track Pursuit of Momentary Happiness is a slower number that plays heavily on the atmospherics and keyboards to create a more Floyd-esque feel, before the full-on psych kicks in.
There are a number of other softer moments and 50’s influence on show here, especially in Words Fail Me, Encore and closer This House Has No Living Room. But it is in their heavier moments that Yak truly come alive.
Blinded By the Lies is a good old fashioned rock-out with a sense of urgency and relentless riffs. White Male Carnivore is driven by a single-tone bass line while vocalist Oliver Henry Burslem rants epically over the top, until the track takes a huge turn and we end up screaming along to ‘The Whole World In His Hands’. Pay Off vs. The Struggle is a prog-like number, taken along yet again by a funk-laden bass line.
This is by no means a perfect album, and some of the tracks do say in places, but there is enough quality here to make it worth spending 40 minutes of your time with.
After the relative famine of February comes a bountiful feast in March. I could quite easily have made of top 50 of great albums released this month. There’s no place in my list for the reformed and revitalised Breeders, despite a strong effort. No room either for the soulful voice of South African trailblazer Nakhane, the laid back R&B licks of Ty, the all out alt-rock of Turbowolf (yes, it sounds exactly like you think it would), the shoegaze glory of Air Formation or the fuzzy indie-stomp of Cabbage. There’s not even a place for one of my all-time favourite artists, Biosphere – but then if you will make an album largely consisting of farm machinery noises tit risks being quite divisive.
So what did make it into the top 10? Surprisingly, an act as traditionally bluesy as its possible to get made a big impression on me. Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite‘s No Mercy in this Land is a classic piece of harmonica and electric guitar blues rock, that will get your toes tapping and put a smile on your face.
Less surprising was the arctic-inspired techno of Molecule. This type of sparse beat-driven dance music was my bread and butter back in the day.
Gwenno‘s Cornish-language pop odyssey Le Kov has shades of St. Ettienne to it, while remaining truly unique.
Special shout out to veteran industrial metal outfit Ministry. This is the first time I’d come across them since the early nineties and their album AmeriKKKant, is a not-very-subtle attack on Trump’s America, but no less enjoyable for it.
Rolo Tomassi‘s Math-rock opus Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It is an excellent way to get your fix of delicate female vocals laced with death-metal growling. It’s even more pleasing to know both sounds are coming from the same vocalist.
A quick mention for the R&B stylings of Young Fathers and The Skull Eclipses, who did their very best to warm me to a musical genre that has largely passed me by.
Perhaps it should be no surprise that I’m a big fan of Demob Happy, being that the band formed in their hometown of Newcastle before moving to Brighton. Their album Holy Doom lands them somewhere between late-era Beatles, Black Sabbath and Queens of the Stone Age. Initially it took me a while to warm to this album but I adore it now.
The album that finally got me to rethink my view on jazz is Sons of Kemet‘s Your Queen is a Reptile. In some ways to call it jazz does it a disservice. It’s as groove laden, incessant and addictive as any electronic dance music band. The Tuba and drums lay down a wicked rhythm section that just does not quit, while the sax and clarinet take you to a higher plain. Utterly brilliant.
However, it wasn’t quite as brilliant as Slow Sundown from Holy Motors. This Estonian band deliver some beautiful languid guitars that invoke the feel of a relaxed desert road trip. Imagine David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino had decided to rent themselves a Cadillac and cross Death Valley and your getting somewhere close to this haunting piece of joy.