Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Oh! Gunquit - "Eat Yuppies and Dance" New Album Out Now on Dirty Water Records + Live at Hipsville & Dirty Water Club

Oh!Gunquit photographed at the Dirty Water Club by Paul Slattery
One of the highlights of the whole Hipsville weekend for me was getting to see Oh! Gunquit again, and this time with their complete line-up. When I first saw them play at one of Mr A’s Weirdsville club nights at the Fiddler's Elbow, which was reviewed on the Blog here, the band started off the gig as just a three piece. Vocalist Tina, Guitarist Simon and Drummer Alex took the stage with Bassist Veronica joining in half way through the set. This time round they had the full complement from the start with Kieran on Sax and I was really looking forward to seeing the band in all their glory. As this year’s Hipsville was “Horror” themed, Oh! Gunquit appeared decked out in Addams Family fancy dress, Tina’s familiar shock of multi-coloured hair was covered by a black Morticia Addams wig and drummer Alex was completely hidden by a long “Cousin It” wig and shades. Simon had spooky white skull-like face paint and Veronica was dressed up as Wednesday Addams which all added to the excellent party atmosphere that is so typical of the Hipsville Weekenders.

Oh! Gunquit at Hipsville - Photo by Steve Worrall
Despite Oh! Gunquit only just releasing their excellent debut album “Eat Yuppies and Dance” on Dirty Water Records, the sets at both Hipsville and the Dirty Water Club gig the following Saturday night, featured quite a few new and as yet unreleased songs. All of them point to an exciting follow-up, particularly "Fireball" with its slinky, sassy Spy movie theme riffing. "Nomads of The Lost" was another number that could easily be in the running as a potential new single, but anyway, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. “Eat Yuppies and Dance” is definitely my favourite album of the year so far, it’s one of those perfectly conceived albums where everything from the cover artwork to the production to the track-listing to the songs themselves are damn well faultless. It’s probably the diversity in the album that is most impressive, something that might not be so apparent from their live show, where it’s probably the colourful full-on visual assault that hits you hardest. However, on the album the songs really come into their own and deliver in impressive style.

Oh! Gunquit photographed at the Dirty Water Club by Paul Slattery
The refreshing thing about Oh! Gunquit is that despite the odd reference points such as The Cramps, The B-52’s or the swampy Voodoo Blues of The Gun Club, these are only fleetingly touched on and then they are gone, nothing is laboured and nothing is predictable. There’s also an extremely danceable edginess to their sound that conjures up early Talking Heads and the lo-fi Post-Punk funk of The Au-Pairs, The Slits and The Raincoats but basically, it all just sounds so incredibly fresh and dynamic. There really is nothing else quite like Oh! Gunquit. The opening song at both shows is a new one "Smiling Snake" that starts off with some great tribal drumming by Alex. Another non-album track "Cindy's Got a Tiger" with it's audience participation hand-clapping makes an appearance too but of course most of the stand-out tracks from "Eat Yuppies..." are all present and correct. "Bad Bad Milk" is a sublime stomper with Simon and Tina sharing lead vocals.

Oh! Gunquit photographed at the Dirty Water Club by Paul Slattery
Tina is all-action, she’s a unique performer and not just because she’s the only person I’ve seen to play the trumpet and hula-hoop at the same time, she also happens to have one of the best voices around. What I really like about the Weirdsville and Hipsville gigs I’ve been to recently is that they often feature bands with a really strong, charismatic female presence. I’m thinking of acts that I’ve seen in the past couple of months such as The Jackets, Autoramas, Kinoco Hotel and Thee Jezebels for example just off the top of my head. There’s a real diversity that reminds me of the early Punk days of The Slits, Poly Styrene, Gaye Advert, Fay Fife and Siouxsie. I love Simon’s trebly, spindly cinematic guitar riffs and there’s a great chemistry between him and Tina particularly when they trade vocals. Kieran’s sax playing, augmented by Tina’s trumpet on a few numbers, adds another dimension, while the rhythm section of Veronica and Alex keep it all rumbling along perfectly.

Tina from Oh! Gunquit photographed at the Dirty Water Club by Paul Slattery
Oh! Gunquit will be appearing at “Stay Sick” in Brighton on Saturday June 13th, for more details please check this link. “Eat Yuppies And Dance” is out on Vinyl, CD or download and is available from the Dirty Water Records store here. Thanks to Paul at Dirty Water Records and to Paul Slattery for the photos. For more photos of Hipsville and the Dirty Water Club gig please head on over to the Retro Man Facebook page and, if you're not already following, hit "Like" and "Get Notifications" for access to the photo albums. There are videos at the Retro Man Blog YouTube Channel too.

Oh! Gunquit photographed at the Dirty Water Club by Paul Slattery

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