Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Album Review: Fyah by Easydread (by Emma Prew)

Easydread are a Bedfordshire-based 7-piece reggae-rock band. They are not really the sort of band that I would usually review – I tend to review more folk punk, Americana-influenced or pop punk bands – but having seen Easydread live three times over the last year, I know that they make great music. I’ve heard all of the songs on their recently released 5-track EP, named Fyah, and so know how good they are – or at least how good they are played live!

The first track on the EP is the title track and I’ve already got it stuck in my head just thinking about it… before I’ve actually pressed play. Fyah kicks off with a lovely bit of melodica – an instrument that I own but never play (I also own guitars that I never play but the melodica is more interesting) – and it instantly makes you want to get your groove on. From the catchy ‘Fire, fire, fire, fiiiire!’ chorus you’d think that this song was urging you to go set fire to something. I think it’s more about standing up for what you believe in and, if you want to, spreading the word – like spreading fire. Or something.

The second track is called Ode To Mandy and is soulful-sounding love song. The song starts off with a neat little guitar riff before the drums cue the rest of the band in, including frontman Steve’s impressive voice – certainly a major reason why this song sounds so soulful to me. One of the things I enjoy about Easydread, and this is perhaps more apparent at a live show, is that many of the other band members join in for some great backing vocals as well. For example, the woah-ohs in the chorus – ‘You got to know woah-oh-oh-oh, woah-oh-oh girl I ain’t trying to play ya.’

The Wake Of You is next on the EP and Easydread up the tempo for this song which really makes you want to get moving, dancing and maybe even a little skanking too. The horns in this song definitely bring to mind The Specials and their song Monkey Man (or Toots and the Maytals if you want to be pedantic) but it is by no means a copy. The horns part is catchy and the lyrics are ridiculously catchy too – ‘The water’s choppy, Oh so choppy, As I follow in the wake of you.’  This is a fine example that Easydread can do both slow, soulful songs and up-beat dance-able songs brilliantly.

The fourth track on the EP, Rebel, has quite a different sounds to begin with. The guitar is heavy and almost grungy but when the horns, keys and drums kick in the reggae undertones are back. As you might imagine from the title of this song, Rebel feels like a bit of a protest song – it certainly has a more of a thought-provoking subject matter perhaps than the previous easy-going track. As on Fyah, this is a song about standing up for what you believe in, defying the concept of borders and ‘taking the power back’.

The last track of the Fyah EP has a title that I’m a little reluctant to shout about. However, it is a song that my mama – who happens to read this blog, occasionally – has actually witnessed live so I needn’t feel to concerned about that. The song is called Scrotes and is dedicated to ‘a certain type of person’ from Luton, where the majority of the band are from. I’m sure you can probably work out what that kind of person is like, there’s probably people like that in your town too. This song has acted as Easydread’s set closer each time I’ve seen them play and for good reason – it’s epic. From the opening chorussing of ‘la, la, la’ to the energetic musical breakdown at the end of the song, it is quite simply awesome.

You can stream and download Fyah now on Bandcamp. You should also like Easydread on Facebook. And I'd highly recommend catching them live if you're in the South East of England or London.

This review was written by Emma Prew.