BOOT WATCH JAN 22: Dutch Mustard, George O'Hanlon, Retro Video Club and Ferris & Sylvester.
We all know that lockdown was a tough time for a lot of artists with touring restraints, vinyl delays and limited recording practices causing significant financial strain. However, for some it provided an opportunity to step away from their hectic lives and devote more attention to their musical project and London's Dutch Mustard did just this. Lockdown provided front-woman Sarah-Jayne Riedel time to escape the onslaught of full-time bar work and pen down some new tracks. Consequently, after a long wait since their shattering alt-rock debut 'Weeping Willow' from 2019 the band have reignited with three new singles since the later end of last year.
The middle of the three releases 'What The People Want' is the most angsty and probably the most comparable to their 2019 single. The perpetual driving drum rhythm infuses the track with a rolling energy. It creates a palpable tension that gives room for Sarah-Jayne's vocals to really lift the sound if and when she chooses. She picks her moments, letting the echoed effects on her voice linger after each line and occasionally dragging out her delivery in a more passionate tone. This sets up the simplistic but hugely infectious chorus that would be the perfect set opener as its pretty hard to not sing back that title line "Its what the people want" as that underlying instrumental grumble gets feet moving. Sarah-Jayne's vocals really standout on the new releases, particularly the latest track 'Don't You Worry'.
For a Rock outfit the layered harmonies are surprisingly soft and blissful allowing for the instrumentals to swell and crash around them. This combination of slick melody and dense Rock instrumentation is comparable to Wolf Alice with the soft yet powerful vocal delivery and soaring Rock energy provoking the perfect recipe for singers and moshers alike. If Dutch Mustard can keep this up then they are soon going to become one of the country's biggest new bands.
Talking of artists who are on fast form, Singer/songwriter George O'Hanlon has sprung out of nowhere but is already looking like the next big thing with 5 tracks since June last year that have shown him to be a mature and accomplished songwriter with so much to offer. The majority of these releases have been quite low key in atmosphere with 'The Storm' radiating natural earthy tones 'This Town' following a more textural and introspective narrative. His sound is cinematic while still incorporating his characterful personality with lyrics ranging from paying back uni fees to melancholic heartbreak.
However, his latest track 'How Are You Feeling?' takes on a much more expressive atmosphere. The lo-fi acoustics are replaced by a soaring full band backing with fuzzy electric guitars and anthemic drum power. Despite the more energetic and uplifting vibe in this new release George still manages to incorporate his trademark poignancy. As the bittersweet vocal tone and emotive lyrical content combine with the expansive instrumental sound it captures that strangely upbeat Indie heartbreak tone that is reminiscent of tracks like Peace's 'From Under Liquid Glass'. We'll have to wait and see whether this more rousing sound is a one off or is the start of a new path but with a few more tracks like this and the backing of EMI it looks like he's set to break out in 2022.
Retro Video Club
Indie Rock outfit Retro Video Club never do things by halves. Hailing from Edinburgh they allow their thick accents to pour through into each track giving them a more authentic twang. Of course, we all love a sweaty underground gig but the soaring chorus' of Retro Video Club feel purpose-built for a stadium crowd and this quality has earned them support slots with Indie giants such as The Vaccines and The Libertines. Their last single 'Boys Like Me' has a danceable rhythm to it while the vocals are comparable to Vistas with their bright and hugely infectious delivery.
Photo from Rory Barnes
They are returning with yet another feel-good banger on February 4th with 'Faking'. The new single packs a little more of an angst infused punch. The driving Sam Fender esc riff underneath gives the build a darker edge before the big drum hits initiate an explosive chorus that is certain to get crowds bouncing when it is released. They have been staggeringly consistent over the past few years and this is often what lets new bands down. So, look out for the new single and get out to see these live before they're on everyone's radar.
Ferris & Sylvester
Combining the very best elements of American music from years gone by the harmonious duo Ferris & Sylvester lean on parts of Country, Blues, Americana and Rock and Roll to create a slick blend that is both fresh and nostalgic. The pair have been working together since 2017 continuously releasing tracks that are full of character and often combine a rich tapestry of instrumentation to offer a warm, cosy feel. After a long wait for fans they have finally released their debut album 'Superhuman'.
The title track is a statement piece that signals just what the pair are capable of. Don't think that just because they are only two members strong that the songs feel stripped back and bare, far from it. 'Superhuman' opens with a dirty Blues Rock riff and a pounding bass drum that spark thoughts of The White Stripes. The instrumentation is dense with some subtler bright piano notes flavouring the underbelly of the track yet it is the vocal pairings that really steal the show, both offering a mean Rock power. 'Golden' is more blissful number as the name suggests. With it's big brass notes and smooth blues organ it provides an atmosphere that is perfectly captured in the music video (above). It is full of joy and makes for an infectious feel-good party vibe. However, the standout track has to be 'This Is How My Voice Sounds'. The song takes you on an empowering sonic journey, beginning with an intimate piano line that exposes the vulnerability of the lyrics. Yet, with each time that title line comes along the track swells with more and more uplifting energy. By the end, the soulful choir backing and rich layers of Blues instrumentation fill the room with warmth. The vocals are raw and passionate, reminiscent of Jade Bird and the instrumentals are so fresh and full that it will raise your mood however low you are feeling.
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