Fair Ohs are an odd bunch. Fairly secretive with minimal press coverage, they skulk around the south-east of England playing the odd show here and there. Like many of my favourite bands, it would seem, I was introduced to Fair Ohs by none other than underground music’s hero, Huw Stephens, who featured them on a compilation alongside the likes of Cults, Dutch Uncles and Best Coast.
Trying to place their music, the lo-fi nature of the recording springs to mind. It’s crunchy like a pancake roll filled with glass while also managing to be bouncy like an elastic band ball - and like those, it’s kind of impossible to tell where on Earth it’s going to bounce. The curiously titled opener Green Apple Milk is testament to this, with what sounds like a saxophone flowing river-like under the bridge of fuzzy indie-pop.
Citric Placid is a fantastic song designed to get people up and on their feet, almost as though it is a snake that’s snuck into a toilet cubicle, and for the last minute it turns into the soundtrack to a rebellious 90s B-movie. That said, next track Mayan Flex sounds almost like early Maccabees, a much more subdued affair with squealing backing vocals providing an almost ethereal quality to the recording.
The low fidelity style continues into Sleep and Panama Red Jets, two surprisingly catchy songs overlaid with yelping vocals akin to a wolf with its foot in a bear trap. Ya Mustafa, however, leads with a refreshing, if a little schizophrenic, guitar riff before heading back into the reverb-soaked voice.
It heads back into catchy territory again with Cayman Brac, which plays around with distorted riffs and delay pedals. It stabs and stops and starts like a 92-reg Fiesta, but when it gets going it’s fluid and fantastic. The dynamics across the whole album are a thing to be admired, no song remaining the same for more than about thirty seconds, like an aural fairground.
Jungle Cats, as the title might suggest, is a big, wild record, which even sounds like it might have been recorded by a band of pumas along the Irrawaddy River. It’s shamelessly distorted, soaked with enough reverb to make the Grand Canyon blush, but it doesn’t care. That’s the refreshing attitude that all artists should take.
Jungle Cats by Fair Ohs is released on May 28 via Dream Beach Records.