On Friday May 5th, Bristol based trio Krooked Tongue will be dropping their sophomore EP, Deathproof, and let me tell you gang, not one, not two, but all four tracks rock.
The band has already released two highly infectious singles, “Lupines” and “Velociraptor” from the EP and the last two follow in their footsteps.
Krooked Tongue are vocalist and bassist Oli Rainsford, guitarist Dan Smith, and drummer Harry Pritchard and they say this of the EP,
‘Deathproof’ as a body of work is our best to date, it’s been a gradual evolution. Like altering the DNA ever so slightly to ultimately create a more pronounced shift. It’s still our sounds and our values but the songs are progressing in a more fleshed out way. They sound better. Everything is more exciting to create each time. 2022 was our first proper year as a full fledged band and it was crazy how fulfilling it was, but this EP is the catalyst in springboarding us in a new direction of being a more refined outfit.
Now, let’s dive into Deathproof track by track shall we.
Kicking off the sophomore EP is “Backseat Therapy” and boy does it leave a lasting impression.
First, let’s talk music. Good lord Oli’s bass in this song is sweet as. Its rumble is like the looming darkness of a back alley that is filled with death and destruction. That sense of death is added by Dan’s guitar. There are these repeating notes that he floats throughout the song like a haunting death rattle and the destruction lies with Harry and Harry alone. His drumming is heavy and consumes everything in its wake.
But it’s the lyrics to “Backseat Therapy” that steal the spotlight from the music. I was blown away by the lyrics and without ruining anyone’s first listen, they’re the darkest and heaviest on the EP and amplify the death and destruction of that looming dark back alley. The lyrics and Dan’s guitar riff stick around in one’s mind long after the song has ended.
As I wrote before, “Velociraptor” is a bold and bright high octane rocker and its tone lyrically and musically are a much needed shift after the heaviness of “Backseat Therapy”.
Oli has said this of the song,
You have to find space in this fucked up world to have fun, get wasted, kiss and tell. We’re not here for a long time, so it may as well be a good time.
What the trio have crafted with this song allows each member to shine with their instruments.
Oli is lurking underneath the guitar and drums, waiting to pounce like a predator. The notes he plays right before the first refrain of, “Kick me in the head and let the darkness take me in…” still melts my bass loving heart. Dan’s guitars are sticky, catchy, and infectious and the way he plays is almost as if he’s beating his guitar like a drum and it’s a thrill to hear. It seems implausible that one man is producing a wonderful wall of sound.
Harry is the hook, line, and sinker of the song. Once you hear the beat, it’s too late. “Velociraptor” has you in its teeth and you’re doomed. Through Harry’s tightly woven pulse, Oli and Dan are able to effortlessly glide upon the rising and falling beat. It also allows Oli, who’s doing double duty as the vocalist, to vocally tread through the song with ease.
Of “Lupines”, Oli has said,
Lupines is in some ways the antithesis to Krooked Tongue’s prior single ‘When the Beaches Bleed’. Though explosive in its catchy choruses, it shifts the tone slightly in creating a sense of swaying ecstasy. Lupines is a sexy, psychedelic journey through a field of the most colourful flowers you could imagine, yet also stands to challenge you to use that imagination to fight the limitations of your mind. Lupines is a lesson in relinquishing control and enjoying the ride.
“Lupines” has a special place in my heart. It is the song that introduced me to Krooked Tongue.
Even now, when I hear “Lupines”, I still hear that confident vocal swagger of the late Jim Morrison in Oli’s vocals and the bass in the song still sends chills across my spine. Once again though, Harry is the heartbeat of the song, bringing Oli’s slick brooding bass and Dan’s decibel crunching guitar together to create crescendos of euphoric beauty that haunt and chill.
The rich, full, lusciousness that these three men have created for “Lupines” amazes me as this song feels like there’s about two, maybe three, more members involved.
On the title track, Oli explains,
‘Deathproof’ is the sort of tune that feels like the climax of our newer tunes. It’s got that ‘grand finale’ energy. Lyrically, it ruminates on my outlook on the state of the world currently. Bad people disguised as good people, normal people being used and pitted against each other. The instinct to know there’s something, many things off kilter with the direction modern society is heading. I think it relates to people. If nothing else, we hope this EP helps to feed into your feelings, or helps you forget about all that noise and just enjoy the music.
I don’t even know where to start with “Deathproof”. It’s that good.
Oli is correct, it does have ‘grand finale’ energy but at the same time it has this ‘let’s fucking get this thing started’ energy.
I adore the opening guitar riff from Dan. It tricks one into thinking the song might not be an in your face rocker but then the entire band slaps down riffs and beats that kick one in the stomach.
It’s a rocker whether one likes it or not and there’s nothing not to like about about “Deathproof”.
It’s a mother f’n jam from start to finish.
When Dan isn’t maintaining the hooky guitar riff throughout the song, he’s once again creating an implausible one man wall of sound. Harry keeps the threesome at a steady pace and Oli’s bass bristles like a lion’s roar.
I could write a thesis on each instrument alone but as much as I love the music of the song, it’s Oli’s vocals that shine in “Deathproof”.
The confident swagger of Morrison that Oli once channelled has grown into its own entity. There’s a sense of ease with his vocals. No more influences from icons. Oli has found his own tone, his own pitch, his own groove, and his own confident swagger and it’s absolutely lovely to hear that resonate throughout the closing track of the EP.
Oli said in his statement about the song “Deathproof” that they as a band hoped the EP would either feed into one’s feelings or help one forget about all the noise, but what Krooked Tongue have accomplished is that Deathproof both feeds and allows one to forget.
For about 13 or so minutes, one is fed four sensational and illustrious songs that remind one life is short and that no one gets out alive so one might as well have a good damn time listening to great damn music.
MUST LISTEN TRACKS: all 4 songs
FAVOURITE TRACKS: “Lupines” and “Backseat Therapy”
Deathproof is out May 5th. Grab a Deathproof + CD Bundle