Released earlier this year, UK band New Town Kings give their Pull Up & Rewind EP a reboot on December 8th, a second outing for the thrilling encounter sure to mop up the appetites of those missing its first coming. Consisting of four tracks combining traditional Jamaican reggae and ska adventure with fresh invention and enterprise, the release shows exactly why the Colchester nine-piece band are no strangers to rich attention and acclaim.
Formed in 2007, New Town Kings has become an eagerly devoured live presence, playing shows across the UK and Europe on their way to being acclaimed as Britain’s greatest traditional Ska band. Shows with the likes of Reel Big Fish, The Slackers, The Skints, Congo Natty and numerous more, as well as this past summer successful appearances at Boomtown Fair and Rebellion have only seen the band’s reputation and stature grow whilst their two albums, Sounds Of The New Town in 2008 and M.O.J.O 4 years later, have potently reinforced their captivating presence and adventure. The first release featuring new vocalist Dabs Bonner, Pull Up & Rewind persistently smooches with the imagination musically whilst thoughts are engaged with more politically aware lyrics from the band, and feet well they have no escape from the EP’s flirtation of rich reggae spicing.
The release opens with Changes, a song which as soon as its first flame of brass crosses ears has full and keen attention. Jabbing prods of guitar from Stuart McClung and John Maynard soon add their potent bait whilst the throaty bass lure of Tommy Marchant makes an instant temptation as the song strolls with vibrant energy. The warm tones of Bonner ensure that though his words challenge with provocative lyrical bait they are a firm but gentle persuasion rather than a demand which suits the sultry climate of the track perfectly. Erupting further with the heated craft of Rory Sadler’s sax and Rob Landen’s trumpet, the song is an irresistible anthem with the power to ignite thoughts and inflame passions.
As impressive as it is though, Luna Rosa soon adds a bit of shade to its success, the second track sheer melodic and infectious beauty. Rising on a brass coaxing which in turn sparks a jumpy stride of spiky riffs and another delicious bassline, the song is soon riding the passions with an impossibly contagious chorus amidst a pungent waltz of colourful Hammond sculpted temptation from Scott James. It is an inescapable enticement aligning to slightly more aggressive vocals from Bonner and the wonderfully skittish yet controlled beats of drummer Sky Roskell-Cheale and the percussive enterprise of Rob Band which themselves simply captivate. The song is a party in the ears and emotions, a sultry temptation with Latin hues and addictive intent.
Things mellow with Grabbed My Hand, a smouldering reggae bred kiss on the senses with enough lively vivacity to it making a just as potent persuasion on swaying bodies before it. Bonner again simply impresses, his addition to the band opening up new textures to explore with as here robustly flavoured and inventive sounds. The dark tones of bass contrast perfectly with the summer tones of the keys and harmonies whilst between them, jangling guitar hooks and thick soulful brass calls only intensify the unveiling emotion clad lyrical narrative.
Closing track Cool The Pressure Down is another with little trouble stirring up lustful movements in the listener, Marchant’s bass Barry White to the warm Four Tops seducing of guitars, keys, and multi-flavoured vocals. It is a festival of humid summer sounds and as its predecessor, though not matching the brilliance of the opening pair, leaves ears wholly enraptured with its ska fuelled temptation.
New Town Kings is one of those feasts greed was invented for with Pull Up & Rewind making a very tasty snack as we await the next full plate of the band’s distinctive and irrepressible invention.
Pull Up & Rewind is available from December 8th
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