The latest New Town Kings release, an EP called Pull Up & Rewind, has been delivered to us just in time for the great long haul that is the Australian summer. The Essex-based English band is nine members strong and stylistically, their music occupies a space somewhere between the Jamaican trifecta of Ska, Rocksteady and Reggae. This EP in particular, ambles through four sunkissed tracks with a polish to them perhaps attributable to the ensemble’s extensive spate of recent performances at festivals such as Boomtown Fair and the Rebellion Punk Music Festival.
The first track on the EP is ‘Change’, a steadily-paced political reggae jam that is less a pessimistic contemplation of the current state of global politics, and more an impassioned plea for action, and progress. ‘Change’ is simultaneously easy to listen to and something that engages you at a deeper level.
The frenetic second song on Pull Up & Rewind, ‘Luna Rosa’, is a breathless latino-inflected ska number with an aggressive off-tempo guitar pulse to complement the dark melodic lines of the brass and Hammond organ.The seedy nightlife evoked by the song is an interesting direction for the New Town Kings, and the fast pace makes it without a doubt the best track to dance to on the EP (though you would of course have to be made of stone to listen to any of the four tracks without at least a slight sway from side to side, every now and then.)
‘Grabbed My Hand’ is a sweet lovesong and vocalist Dabs Bonner croons it in a suitably starry-eyed manner.The main refrain for this song is ‘my life, it started when you grabbed my hand’. This is perhaps not surprising for a song entitled ‘Grabbed My Hand’. The point of the song however, isn’t to describe an emotionally complex relationship through finely-wrought lyricism. Bonner sings the cheerful lyrics with such conviction that in the end, the lyrics, heavy dub of Tommy Marchant’s rhythmic bassline and warm fuzzy brass riffs leave you with a smile on your face, willing or otherwise.
Pull Up & Rewind’s closer “Cool The Pressure Down” is the sort of track that, if forcibly played to all car drivers during peak hour traffic, would reduce the incidence of road rage by around ninety percent at least. Drummer Sky Roskell-Cheale creates a consistent groove that the rest of the band sinks into, in particular saxophonist Rory Sadler, whose solo carries the song and the EP out to a more-chilled-than-yoga finish.
Reviewed by Emma Doherty