We all like to be tantalised and thrilled especially with increasing intensity and that is exactly what the debut EP from UK outfit Pave The Jungle does. The Hissing offers up six tracks which gripped ears and ignited the imagination like few others this year and increasingly has stoked the passions listen by listen. The tantalising comes from the intrigue sparked as to just how striking the Newcastle quartet and their fascinating post punk/alternative rock bred sound will become as they further evolve and creatively mature, the thrills quite simply from its glorious deeds.
The seriously impressing exploits of The Hissing were first seeded in the mentorship programme vocalist/songwriter Rachael Whittle had with Mercury Prize nominated Nadine Shah and co-writer Ben Hillier. The band’s first EP proves those ideas and endeavours have only and truly blossomed since, grown into songs which grip ears and demand attention. It is not just the creative wiring which is striking; Whittle’s vocals are an enthralling aspect alone and potently aligned to commanding enterprise and irresistible imagination courtesy of hers and Stephen McLaughlin’s guitars, the bass of Jack Burlison and the manipulative swings of drummer Scott Jeffery.
The likes of Manchester Orchestra, Du Blonde, Anna Calvi and White Reaper are cited as influences to the 2019 formed band though as the EP’s opener took control of our ears and appetite we seized upon essences which reminded of artists such as 4 Non Blondes, Stolen Babies and Tracy Bonham. Yet uniqueness drives all as Emerald zooms in with drama and energy from the off, riffs and rhythms a collusion of temptation bound in wiry grooves as Whittle’s compelling tones paint their own creative theatre. Quickly unpredictability is revealed as potent an aspect to the band’s sound as craft and enterprise, the song an animation of creative movement and invention.
It is a rousing and striking start to the release but quickly eclipsed by next up Cookie Cutter. Indie and alternative rock textures unite in its immediate enslaving of ears, a punk lining to their rich hues as enticing as again Whittle’s inimitable vocal prowess and the senses scything jangle of guitars. With Jeffrey’s beats an imposing impossible to refuse incitement, the track is a trespass of virulence and quite irresistible as too we soon found the riveting exploits of successor Habitual Thinker. The song’s calm entrance, a weave of guitar threads, is still bound in thick intrigue only added to by the suggestiveness of vocals and in swift time it is strolling through ears with rapacious intent, creativity a hungry incitement instantly burrowing under the skin as guitars bear further post punk instincts.
Fix erupts in ears straightaway, rhythms whipping up frenzy as guitars and bass push their own bait forward. It is a tempest whichsoon breaks its surge to settle down in even greater seduction of ears, Whittle an alluring temptress in the midst of a seductively dark bassline and the flirtatious strands of guitar. Even so there is a mercurial edge which simmers away and in time boils over, the track a spiralling majesty of manipulation before Ants brings its own off-kilter wonder to increasingly greedier ears. Its relatively calm start is almost predacious in its intrigue and temptation, Pave The Jungle continuing to reveal wonderfully aberrant imagination and devilish craft to back it up.
The EP closes up with Jelly, a beguiling meander through the speakers which winds around ears like a compelling serpent, every move and swing deviously creative and masterfully captivating. Bordering on the predatory, the track is a beguiling end to one of the year’s finest releases.
Pave the Jungle are destined to major success and attention, it is just a matter of sooner or later; The Hissing more than backs up that declaration and suggests it could well be the former.
The Hissing is out now through usual stores.
Pete RingMaster 29/10/2020