Monday, 12 June 2017

Album Review: Sex, Drugs and Wishy Washy Politics by Eat The Evidence (by Dan Peters)

Quick Disclaimer: Colin's Punk Rock World does not condone the recreational taking of illegal substances in order to expand your mind and have an amazing time. Any anecdotes about drug use during this review are purely hypothetical and you can’t prove anything unless you have pictures of mental house parties down in Brighton circa 2003-6.

In my efforts to remain an impartial reviewer I like to set myself challenges and reviewing an album from a bunch of incredible dudes that I’ve been good friends with for around 15 years is gonna be tough. I will tell you a few facts though, to help sway the fact that I may come across overly positive without it just being because we’re all friends. Eat The Evidence have been a sleeper big band for at least three years now. I have been to several ETE shows and I have never seen them play to less than a packed out show. From little shitholes in Harrow to their recent album launch show, crowds of people have always been jammed in to see them play live. They are talented dudes who have a flawless live show that has done nothing but get stronger each time they play. Something of a super group, all the members have had reasonable success in previous bands before coming together.

Sex, Drugs and Wishy Washy Politics is actually the debut Eat The Evidence album. Despite several of the tracks having the odd home recording, this is the first time everything has been placed in one properly mixed and mastered place. If you’ve been unlucky enough to miss ETE at one of the aforementioned packed out shows then it’s gonna be a hard time describing the style to you. They are a third wave ska/reggae group with grime vocal stylings and unique instrumentation. Or “that rapping ska band with the accordion”. Either descriptor will do.

The album kicks off with ukuleles, slide whistles and a “funny because it’s true” story about British Imperialism. Once you wrap your head around the musical arrangement you’ll find a fun romp of a song that will stick like glue to your memory banks.

No ’Ists No ’Isms is an ETE classic with all the trademarks of the band, the accordion rhythm, the reggae beats and bass, easy upstrokes and guitar noodles over tightly rapped lyrics with tighter harmonies. Vocals throughout the album are irreverent and often funny to the point of laughing out loud but always with a potent undertone of political savviness. Duck Hunt is all about the ridiculous notion of trickle down wealth but you need to be paying real attention to catch the witticisms within.

Alongside the political banter is the sex and drugs side of things mentioned in the title of the album. Songs like You Only Say You Love Me When You’re High and Come Down With Me hark back to fond memories of party days, with all the (figurative and literal) highs and lows that comes with adding drugs to your party lifestyle.

I’d like to take a moment to appreciate the wit and intelligence in almost every aspect of the vocals of lead singers Tom and Jack. Lines like “You take a swig on your Bulmers, Your mind’s as open as Woolworths” are at once incredibly clever and just shy of ridiculous. It’s stuff like this that’s a Hallmark of the ETE experience. There’s everything available from biting political satire to the kind of in joke that you’d only pick out if you were smashed off your gourd in Riley Road that time when handsome Jack climbed over the house whilst tripping his nuts off. Actually maybe that didn’t happen, I don’t remember I was pretty munted! Either way, this is an album you can pour over and over on subsequent listens and always find some new and clever that you missed in a track you’ve already listen to fifteen times and swear you know back to front.

I feel like I’m rambling a bit, I guess I’m starting to give myself flashbacks a little so I’ll shoot for a conclusion. Sex, Drugs and Wishy Washy Politics is an utterly unique blend of almost nothing you’d think to add to a reggae/ska album and yet somehow everything else seems pale and washed out next to it. Eat The Evidence already showed that these songs are instantly likeable and amazing to dance to in their live experiences and now I feel they finally have something that is a good enough sounding representation of them to listen to. Just for the fact you will have never heard anything like this before, you should check them out. Once you’ve inevitably fallen in love then I highly recommend seeing them live because there’s nothing like an ETE live show.

N.B. the track listing of the link I’ve listened to doesn’t match the CD I own, doesn’t matter though what kind of square listens to an album in order these days anyway.

Stream Sex, Drugs and Wishy Washy Politics here:

Like Eat The Evidence here:

This review was written by Dan Peters.