RingMaster Review: Oh! Gunquit "Eat Yuppies and Dance"
Time to meet your new favourite band and album, and the beginning of frequent visits to hospital A&E because of the twisted rhythmic effect on the body and the deranged dance-floor tempting offered. The culprits are UK provocateurs Oh! Gunquit and debut album Eat Yuppies and Dance. With more agitated rhythms than found in a Cardiothoracic unit entangled in a web of virulent contagion built on salacious grooves and naughtily flirtatious temptation, the band’s sound is pure irrepressible addiction. Hints of their devilish practices have been unveiled for quite a while by singles, videos, and an acclaimed live presence, but with Eat Yuppies and Dance, the London based quintet has just infected the world with their finest moment yet.
With a sound presumably self-tagged as rumble-bop trash freak-a-billy, and you have to say it fits perfectly, Oh! Gunquit has its seeds in a meeting between neighbours Tina Swasey and Simon Wild at a North London vinyl-only sweaty cellar club DJ night. Apparently from an energetic pogo competition the pair decided to form a band based on their mutual love of wild garage punk, exotica, raw rhythm ’n’ blues, and surf-trash. This was 2011 and since then the band they subsequently formed has become an eagerly devoured proposition across shows and festivals which have seen them playing with the likes of Black Lips producer King Khan with his Shrines, Fat White Family, Public Service Broadcasting, Andrew Weatherall, and Keb Darge amongst many. One gig even saw Adam Ant make a “crazed” impromptu stage invasion whilst radio has been just as hungry for their songs. This has all been backed by a pair of limited edition and self-released seven inch vinyl singles and tantalising videos to match. Now with Dirty Water Records, the band has uncaged their greatest bait of sound and devilment yet to seduce and enslave towns, nations, and the world.
With a line-up completed by Kieran, VV, and Alex, Oh! Gunquit equip Eat Yuppies and Dance with a torrential revelry which can fall into anything from psyche rock and pop to garage and punk rock, and on again to rockabilly and surf rock and that is still only part of the full musical stomp which starts with opener Sinkhole. The resonating slightly tinny beats which accost and incite ears from the first breath of the song are the sign of things to come, their anthemic lure having one single aim with their actions, to ignite body and emotions. Vocals jump in swiftly with the same impact before the song slips into a sultry groove woven caress of surf temptation over a vivacious garage rock canvas. The voice of Denver bred Tina brings an enticing tang to the exploit as does the acidic kiss of guitar enterprise which flames across the encounter, everything combining for a potent and lively start to the album.
It is an opening quickly over shadowed by the brilliant Head Bites Tail, an exhausting tapestry of dark pop and fiery rock ‘n’ roll best described as The B-52s meets The Cramps whilst being filtered through the warped funk voracity of Rip Rig & Panic. Brass seduces with unbridled toxicity across the song whilst rhythmically it is as busy and inescapable as the first seconds after doors open on a Black Friday high street sale. The vocals are equally as volatile and excitable in quite simply one quite exhilarating proposition.
Sixties beat lined and blues hued Caves strolls in next, its suggestive swagger as tempting as anything cast by your favourite temptress. Once more there is a great tinge of B-52s to the exceptional enslavement but to that there are additional essences of garage punk bands like The Orson Family, the bluesy seducing of a My Baby, and the garage pop escapade of The 18.104.22.168’s in the mix. The song is pure aural sex but as becomes a habit with Eat Yuppies and Dance as soon as you think the band has hit a pinnacle they come up with an even more deviously addicted treat, in this case Bad, Bad, Milk. Vocally and musically insatiable, the track is sheer addiction from the first flying syllable and rhythmic swipe to its final infection loaded spark. Everything from the chin down is in rapid union with the merciless stomp, every beat, groove, and flame of brass simply Class ‘A’ addictiveness to which vocals and melodically mischievous hooks are the ringleaders.
The fuzzy sax hazed, seventies psyche pop dance of Hope In Hell provides another new colour to the diversity of the album, before Pony Boy brings a rockabilly/fifties rock ‘n’ roll tenacity to its garage punk shuffle to ignite ears all over again. Think Imelda May meets The Horse Party and you get a whisper of its epidemic of sound and persuasion, again Eat Yuppies and Dance stretching its creative landscape.
Into The Woods visits a bluesy backwater scenery in the imagination next, rock ‘n’ roll keys a la Fats Domino, luring excitedly from within the sweltering but inviting climate of the song. A great merger of fifties and modern rock pop, the song flirts and dances with ears and emotions until making way for bubbly rock ‘n’ roll of I Need Help Now. As its predecessor, the song casts a spell on body and vocal chords whilst creating a new twist of dark pop adventure within ears and album, at times skipping along like a predatory version of The Shangri-Las in a fiery entanglement with Cradle.
All the big irresistible rhythms and anarchic incitements are out for Voodoo Meatshake, their rabid seducing matched by brass and vocals which in turn are bound by searing grooves and a suggestive stroking by keys. It is an explosion of lustful sounds and rousing energies, one of those feel good assaults on the senses which have you exhausted and bloated with pleasure. The same applies to closing song Lights Out; a rhythm ‘n’ blues romp leaping around fondling the passions like a mix of The Revillos and King Salami and the Cumberland 3. It is a glorious slice of sonic diablerie, a mouth-watering hex on feet and passions bringing the similarly sorcerous Eat Yuppies and Dance to a dramatic and thrilling end.
There is no remedy to the potency and create toxins of Oh! Gunquit’s sound, just more lust emerging with every listen of their brilliant first album.