We seem to be hitting that point of the year where Britain crosses its fingers that the gloom and rain will finally break; the barbeque can be hesitantly unpacked from the depths of the shed and sunny afternoons can be happily spent with a group of friends sat in the garden, attempting not to burn burgers and enjoying life. I would be amiss writing this on a music blog if I didn’t then make mention of finding a suitable soundtrack to fill the happy hours, which today I am going to propose takes the form of the ska nonet (and yes, I do indeed mean nine of them) The Meow Meows, and their new album Somehow We Met.
Recorded thanks to donations through crowd-funding website PledgeMusic, Somehow We Met is the second album from the Brighton-based Meow Meows, who met up with renowned reggae producer Prince Fatty to take a shot at the rather huge task of not only capturing a nine piece band on disc, but also managing to keep the energy and intensity that has earned them their reputation while out on the road.
Thankfully all the effort has paid off. Right from the beginning of opener England Is Over we are given a masterclass in how to craft a ska track, effortlessly blending together nine members’ worth of vocals, keys, guitars, brass and more without ever sounding cluttered or over the top, and with a groove and rhythm I can easily see getting a crowd moving. From there on we are taken through a range of distinct and individual tracks, all managing to capture that feeling and sound in their own unique way, from the brass of Banknote to the slower piano-led Milton Keynes. Alongside the obvious ska and reggae sounds, you can also hear other influences creeping in, with songs like whywhywhy and Might As Well Be You taking obvious cues from 60s rock and roll, blending them with the ever present upbeat ska and reggae rhythms that sound absolutely brilliant and are perfectly matched with the female-fronted vocals.
I guess at this point I could go on trying to dissect and review the songs, but I figure I would be better proposing a hypothetical situation: take yourself back to the first paragraph of this article where we were sat outside, relaxing and having fun with a group of friends on a sunny afternoon, barbeque warming up and the sun in the sky. On the stereo, the sound of a superb ska band makes for the ideal accompaniment to an afternoon of having fun in the sun. I can only recommend that album be The Meow Meows’ Somehow We Met.
Somehow We Met by The Meow Meows is out on the 29th of July via all the usual online sources, or from the band themselves.