There has been a reinvestment of interest in new variations of rock in the UK where the likes of British outfits including Royal Blood and Nothing But Thieves find themselves rubbing shoulders with Tay-Sway and Sam Smith on the Radio 1 Playlist. The latest recruit to this complicated middle ground is East London quartet The Bohicas after tracks including ‘Swarm’ and ‘Where You At’ were praised by the likes of Huw Stevens and Annie Mac, now find themselves spun on every primetime programme.
With a pre-existing knowledge and a flurry of hype fluttering around the blogosphere the band seems to be in a pretty solid position ahead of the release of the debut record ‘The Making Of’. Beginning with some bravado and intent ‘I Do It For You’ is large, stadium large with an introduction to make even the most fair weather of bystander look up from their smart phones and pay attention to the droning vocal and growling instrumental bridge that breaks apart and restructures in a similar way to ‘Absolution’ era Muse. The following two tracks aim for both sides of the rock & roll coin with ‘To Die For’ attempting a two tone vocal duet of aggression and elation which does have some authenticity and interest. However ‘Only You’ attempts the laid back qualities of Arctic Monkeys – ‘Black Treacle’ with characterful vocals and jubilant chorus which rapidly spirals into the painfully monotonous.
The title track offers yet more dynamism with a steady vocal that moves along in an underplayed torrent of scathing abuse whilst fractured instrumentals puncture the sonar in unpredictable places paired with a piercing guitar solo offers some allusion to the band’s live performance. It is followed up by a frantic ‘Where You At’ which just short of three minutes leaves more of an impression than every track between 2 and 5.
‘XXX’ once agains offer some self indulgent live play and welcomes in the album’s highlight track ‘Swarm’ which is a snarling, self propelled piece of indie rock that will force you to pay attention to the record and then scream that suitably infectious chorus straight into your face. This is the most credible attempt to recreate the raucous pre-Beatles Merseyside basement rock & roll scene as all of the elements harmoniously join together in momentous manner. Psych-guitars beckon in ‘Red Raw’ with a truly perfect opening lyrical line and leads on to Velvet Undergound scuzzy vocal and some well designed restraint to allow you to appreciate the intensity of the former three tracks and enjoy this laid back stoner rock jam.
The Bohicas and this album is general are something of a complexity as you cannot quite decide if this is a fully formed debut or a couple of superb EPs tied together with truly uninspired tracks. ‘I Do It For Your Love’ ‘Where You At’ ‘XXX’ and ‘Swarm’ would have made a killer debut of intent drawing on the influence of Led Zeppelin and Queens of the Stone Age. However the likes of ‘Only You’ and ‘Girlfriend’ feel too imitable to other artists as though they were completed through necessity instead of purpose. Although they attain more lyrical credibility than Slaves and more anthemic skill than Catfish & the Bottlemen, in an exciting British marketplace where Savages, Wolf Alice and Foals practice and play, I would doubt The Bohicas will make a lasting impression.
The Making Of’ will be released through Domino Records on August 21 through Domino Records