Starting with one of the most flirtatious embraces likely to be heard this summer and proceeding to cast another two slices of pure aural suggestiveness, the Friends On Benefits EP from UK ska rockers The Meow Meows, puts the irresistible into virulent temptation. Three songs of the Brighton nine-piece’s increasingly renown fusion of eighties ska and even older garage rock with a more than healthy punk bred diversity, the EP is one inescapable incitement for body and imagination.
The Meow Meows emerged on the Brighton live scene around 2005, the collective rising from the ashes of several bands from the south-coast ska-punk scene. It was not long before their reputation and fan-base flourished through their energetic live presence and a sound which bewitched feet and ears with infectious ease. The years since forming have seen the band share stages with the likes of The Temptations, The Skatalites, Reel Big Fish, The Beat, The Selecter, King Blues, The Skints, and Hollie Cook amongst many, and the release of a couple of well-received albums. Debut full-length Songs From The Fridge stirred up plenty of attention but it is probably fair to say that its 2013 successor Somehow We Met, helped push the band into new spotlights. Friends On Benefits, like that album, was recorded with producer and reggae legend Prince Fatty and quickly confirms The Meow Meows as one of the UK’s truly instinctive creators of contagion.
The seeds to the Friends On Benefits EP arose from the band being one of ten artists commissioned by Fuel Theatre for their Music to Move to project, its aim to create works from bands in union with choreographers which would inspire the general public to dance. Equipped with another pair of toe inciting swingers, also loaded with humour laced and snarling social /political themed lyrics, band and release swiftly set hips to work with the EP’s title track. Brass and rhythms instantly collude in a gentle but forceful sway as guitars within another breath add their sultry hues to the melodic smile of the keys. Alternating their individual vocals over the verses, both Danny and Hanna spark further hunger, the two ladies temptress like within the rousing swagger and shuffle of the song. With a whiff of The Bodysnatchers to it, as well as The Beaubowbelles and The Jellycats, the track is a spellbinding and lingering bounce of a persuasion swiftly matched by its successor.
London Road has an even chirpier gait to its stroll, brass and beats quick-footed protagonists within the key’s smouldering caress. As in the first, the music embraces the vocals with a more restrained energy yet it never loses the infectious lure ripe in its presence and enterprise, in fact springing new melodic flames with every twist of its irresistible tempting. As it proceeds with a distinctive and magnetically quaint Hammond organ tone seducing, the song gently and seamlessly evolves to subsequently emerge with a Martha and the Muffins like new wave colouring which seems to feed and accelerate the excellent ska fuelled and increasingly agitated climax of the outstanding song.
The EP is completed by Tits & Hatred, a more old school punk endeavour which echoes with essences of bands like Au Pairs and The Raincoats within its severely tantalising and eagerly varied character. The track is again primarily brewed from the band’s seventies inspired 2-tone/ska punk inspirations which of course are in turn dosed up with the band’s compelling touch and imagination; the result being one mouth-watering end to one thrilling proposition.
The Meow Meows create ska punk ’n’ roll to lose your inhibitions and body to, with Friends On Benefits the spark to lustful endeavour.
The Friends On Benefits EP is available on vinyl from July 13th via Jump Up! Records and digitally @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/friends-on-benefits-single/id997669416 or http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00Y6EIGXO?keywords=Friends%20On%20Benefits%20EP&qid=1436784848&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1