REVIEW

Having recently hung up his boots as drummer in the Houdini Dax (forever?), Davey Newington has set up a new band, the Boy Azooga. Together with three mates from Cardiff and a crazy name that says it all, the band have come up with an explosive album where power pop is pushed beyond its genre and undergoes a real-time upgrade.

I waited for the release of “1, 2 Kung Fu!” with an impatient excitement, especially after hearing “Loner Boogie” that’s head-banging drilled under my skin for 2 whole minutes at the swinging rhythm of a cheeky guitar riff flinging me back in time to the period when I listened to the Dandy Warhols from Portland Oregon.

Relistening to the full length of this song is pure pleasure; introduced by “Breakfast Epiphany” and divided into two parts. It is a precious gem of refined acoustic textures that wouldn’t have seemed out of place in the repertoire of the late Elliott Smith.

The other song has entertained me recently: “Face Behind Her Cigarette”. The synth and the base play together before an incidental tune creeps up from behind and brings back memories of black and white images of forgotten noir film.

On 15 May 2018, Boy Azooga made their BBC debut; just one milestone of this incredible period which preceded the album release. The band really gives its best with “Loner Boogie” on the “Later…with Jools Holland” programme and I strongly recommend watching it: their vibes come across strongly in the performance:  a taste of what we can expect from upcoming live-sets.

Following this, a marvelous story-telling song by the title “Jerry” that recalls the Beatles in certain mellotron echoes and in the fine guitar chords; in  “Taxi To Your Head” there seems to be a certain psych esotism and various divertissment which enrich the exposition. It has originality and good taste – not common in the indie movement of late. All this shows courage and a crystal clear pursuit of intents that, together with a good musical background, is grandly expressed track after track, free of mannerism.

Brian Wilson is surely one of the album’s leading sounds, together with William Onyeabor’s electric funk, confirming that it is possible to bind great lyrics and a rhythm to create great entertainment, finding solutions far away from laboratory productions. The album title recalls China’s Boxes rebellion and introduces the best pop orchestral productions of the the two worlds… and all this production with only four elements and nothing missing.

 

Nando Dorelassi

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