Nowadays, when a young London quartet tumble onto the scene twiddling guitars and a low slung bass, the idea of going home to stick Groundhog Day into the DVD player doesn’t sound like such an absurd idea.
But when said young London quartet are billed as a ‘blues’ act, that’s when eyebrows start to raise.
Scoundrels may be a familiar name but let me assure you, they’re not Steve Martin and Michael Caine galloping around the French Riviera in white suits and Panama hats. You think you know the Scoundrels?
Trust us, you don’t.
This little EP, five cut and polished tracks, takes the basic blues guide book and rather than thumb through to find a chapter to deftly craft and manipulate, instead leaves it on the sideboard to collect dust. Less theory and more practical has been the key to Scoundrels’ quiet infiltration, as their time spent immersed in the sounds of the old Louisiana club scene has paid dividends for a band looking to break away from the status quo of yesteryear and plummet head on into something new and exciting.
The ‘Sexy Weekend‘ EP is essentially blues; just don’t expect Bonamassa and Thorogood to come leaping out through your speakers. In fact, if you’ve never heard of the two aforementioned names, this could be right up your street. Opener ‘Bon Temps Roulet‘ kicks off with a mysterious, bobbing little baseline cut into a crunching riff and a sun drenched lead vocal. The biggest potential for a break through track, ‘Bon Temps…’ eases listeners into familiar sound, packing weight into a tight rhythm section whilst displaying a knack for hitting the nail on the head when it comes to creating toe tapping craftsmanship.
There are two distinctive things you’ll note when listening through ‘Sexy Weekend’; twin guitar melodies that slip along seamlessly throughout and a heavy soul influence. It’s the title track which evokes both these nuances to full effect. It’s a slow dance filled with heartfelt soul and a stark likening to Pete Wingfield’s classic ’18 With a Bullet‘. It would be hard to imagine that the sounds of Motown Records and Hitsville USA didn’t play a part in the musical upbringing for the Londoner’s somewhere along the line.
It’s perhaps ‘Beijing Honey‘ where the Scoundrels sound collectively pulls together to form a tour de force in blues, reggae and soul. Duelling guitars both chime and tinkle and the huge, fuzzy riff that crashes in whilst singer Ned Wyndham’s ‘I’ve always loved you’ belts out is, quite simply, brilliant.
It must be said that the Scoundrels aren’t for the purists. They are, however, for those who can appreciate the vast array of influences that have heavily impacted the way music is played today. Not many bands though are brave enough to dig down deep enough and explore these routes but, when it’s done right, there’s the potential for something rather brilliant to emerge.
(Elliot Kuruvita)Just Published: