Monday, 8 February 2010

EP Review: The Joe Public - Skin

Before I begin, I have to admit a slight biased towards this particular EP. I grew up with the Joe Public lads, having played in a band with one of them for a few years. That aside, I was very pleased to finally get my hands on Skin, their debut release. Having moved from Somerset, their central hub, I haven't seen them live for months and months but had lots of fun listening to their EP. The guys are young, talented and, most importantly, keen as hell, and their live shows are packed with more venom and energy than...well a place with lots of venom and energy. I guess an angry snake pit. Alas, I digress.

Skin - It's a busy intro; the guitars are killer and sending me into a bit of a warp but the equally-quick rhythm section tie everything down as the vocals drop in. They are excited, almost rushed but in a good way, it's almost blink-and-you'll-miss it with all the ferocity and bustle of a busy highstreet somewhere in downtown NY, and it sounds like Incubus are playing somewhere close by, or at least Brandon Boyd. Beneath all this however, it's grooving really nicely, and chilling wonderfully into a teasing pre-chorus (nice backing vocals), before dropping the chorus-bomb. And boy, does it drop. With all of the ferocity of the verse times ten, it's a hook you'll be humming long after the CD is finished playing. The vocals are strong yet different, unlike anything really out there at the moment, I sense there's something special here. The bridge establishes slightly calmer ground but not for long; this song's all about the chorus.

Take What's Yours - A piano driven ballad not in compound time? Already it's different, it's interesting, it's something new once more. The track is gentle, far gentler than it's predecessor, almost soothing with warm, floaty keyboard sounds but the guitar stays true; I can sense the slight John Mayer influences if you dig really deep, but Mike Einziger and John Fruiscante are closer to the surface. The track's almost a musical interlude; the vocals are sparse but heavily layered which fit the style perfectly and the drums are brilliantly tight; each fill a quick snatch and always there back into the groove deliciously. It's a short song, but there's nothing I would change.

Stumbling - Another piano intro, this time with the edition of strings. It's like wandering into a dream, stumbling into someone else's fantasy. This fantasy belongs to Jake Meeking, but I don't feel like I'm intruding. The vocal performance is sublime, and it's just perfect when the acoustic guitar picks it's way delicately alongside the keys. I feel the urge they've resisted in delaying the drums' big introduction; it would have been too easy to sidle in at the beginning of verse two but, through holding back, this just makes the track. And when the drums do come in, the groove is a hand-picked delight. If I close my eyes I can picture this as a soundtrack to a crucial farewell/self-realisation type scene in a movie. Wonderful.

Solution - This is the last roll of the dice for the Joe Public guys, the final track on the EP, the lasting memory as the CD stops spinning. I love the delay on the lead guitar, with the obscure tones of the second guitar sliding easily in the background. With all the angst of Skin, I'm surprised that the other three tracks have lacked in such bite, but this isn't at all to take anything away from the rest of the EP; it's a work of art that everyone in The Joe Public camp should be very proud of. This is almost a power-ballad, the rhythm section this time more driving in the choruses with the guitars divulging in some really cool and funky guitar licks pre-verse. The track has come alive now and I realise it's a perfect ending to the EP, there must have been a lot of thought into the track order but I think they've got it right. Coming out of the second chorus, the lead guitar picks us and takes us round the riff, branching out further and further into a solo almost in desperation, I get the feeling it's tied down slightly, with just a little less space to really go for it than is required. The track has a cool ending too; the chorus fades away as the piano is left to seal off a great track and a really great CD.

If you enjoyed my review and would like to hear more from The Joe Public, please visit their Myspace page or, alternatively, catch them live:

18 Feb 2010 -  Moles Club, Bath
4 Mar 2010 - Hope & Anchor, Islington, London
5 Mar 2010 - The Patriot, Newport
11 Mar 2010 - Fleece, Bristol
12 Mar 2010 - Corn Exchange, Devizes
13 Mar 2010 - Guildhall, Gloucester
15 Mar 2010 - Cavern (TBC) Exeter
18 Mar 2010 - Perfect 5th, Taunton
19 Mar 2010 -  Champions, Bournemouth
24 Mar 2010 - Rifleman’s Arms, Glastonbury
25 Mar 2010 - The Lock Up, Frome
26 Mar 2010 - Teenage Kicks @ The Furnace, Swindon
22 Apr 2010 - Powers, Kilburn, London
11 May 2010 - Perfect 5th, Taunton
14 May 2010 - Avenue, Newbury

1 comment:

  1. nothing in manchester?? they sound really cool whre can i get the EP from?


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