No matter how many times I listen to this EP, without fail, my first thought is always Paolo Nutini’s 10/10. The opening sound (however you choose to describe it) matches perfectly, but is followed by not trumpets, as Nutini uses, but mellow-Bob Marley style vocals, which accompanied with the track titles (Change, Luna Rosa, Grabbed My Hand and Cool The Pressure Down), instill the mood for the record – calm. Although beyond the opening few seconds the tracks may sound nothing similar to Paolo’s piece, it’s without a doubt that this record is, well, 10/10.
Acclaimed as one of the UK’s greatest ska bands, New Town Kings are back after the rough loss of their front man last year, and this EP is the perfect taster for their album to be released later this year. There’s no messing about with intros and outros on this record – each of the four tracks has a solid, compact sound, opening with the astonishing chilled-out Change, in which the reggae influences are more than hinted at. From this song alone, it’s apparent that the record is set to be a definite summer soundtrack with its mood-setting vibes and bright sound.
The pace steps up slightly with Luna Rosa, and the faster percussion blended over with typical ska trumpets adds an atmosphere of the nine-piece band performing the track live to dancing couples under fairy lights, making it a personal favourite for me. What I genuinely find myself taken aback at with this track is the manner in which the sound creates an image without lyrics, which only add finer details – since their formation in 2007, the Colchester band have developed a tight yet extensive sound, that works as a piece of art.
Grabbed My Hand allows the lyrics to take prominence over the music, and although these do become slightly repetitive, I’m not searching for challenging lines in this genre, and the touch-over three and a half minute track retains the controlled and subdued musical side that remains throughout. What a way to close a ska-reggae EP this with a song entitled Cool The Pressure Down? Nothing could sum up not only this EP, but the genre, than this track. Rather self explanatory as it is, the mellow lyrics can’t help but make you want to drop whatever stress in your day and do nothing for a while – and, hey, it’s cheaper than a psychiatrist.
The lyrics of the EP host a fair mix about love and political statements, which combined with a zesty sound to make you want either a campfire or a dance, create a landmark release for the band. Pull Up & Rewind will be released on 12” Vinyl and Digital, on July 13th 2014 on Bomber Music, making it the best place to get into the band’s music for new fans, and an exciting installment in their story for those who’ve been around a while.