Almost every musician worth their salt is influenced by music from before their time. For some this just becomes part of the influences that make up their sound, and for others it becomes their source material to reinterpret and add their stamp to. Danger Mouse has just released an album drawing heavily on on great italian soundtrack composers of the 60’s like Ennio Morricone, creating a new sound, but with a clear and deliberate vintage foundation. Well, this is what The Graceful Slicks seem to be aiming at with their new self-released demo; not spaghetti westerns, but songs that drag forward sounds from times gone by.
The EP is littered with guitar tones so analogue sounding you can almost hear the tape reels rolling in the background. From surf-rock reverb, to garage-rock riffs and shoe-gaze delay-drenched walls of distortion, The Graceful Slicks pull it all together over relentlessly solid rhythm section. For a disc that has a running time of just over eleven minutes there are a lot of ideas crammed in. None of this vintage sound feels forced, but occasionally just a bit too much at once; a musicologist could spend several days deconstructing these tracks.
Opener, ‘Bul Bul Tarang’ is a mid-tempo snare-driven number that wouldn’t have sounded out of place in a opening slot in the heyday of CBGB’s, finally breaking down to just vocals and echoey scratches, that pulse through you. ‘Fire’ seems a little more diverse and less focused in its sound, the vocals verging on a US-punk shouting match, where as the guitar harks back to the 60’s Californian sound, mixed with early Zeppelin and a drop of Kasabian’s first album – it doesn’t quite work. The third and final track on this track owes a lot to the Rolling Stones and The New York Dolls, driving along with heavy bass and minor progressions.
The entirety of this EP comes off as an homage to 70’s New York, and to pull it off with this level of conviction is no mean feat. However, it just seems a little juxtaposed with the other music on the Oxford music scene today. Of course, I’m all for forging your own path, and following it to where you want your sound to go, but perhaps this is just a little bit too much down the the well-worn road for me.