Fair-Ohs

Sometime between 2011’s debut album ‘Everything is Dancing’ and now, London trio Fair Ohs changed their Twitter handle from Like Paul Simon, but y’know, punk to LET’S FUCKIN GO. It says a lot.

‘Jungle Cats’ begins with ‘Green Apple Milk’, a track that’s African hi-life gone basement punk and true to Fair Ohs’ age-old quest of jollying up the hardcore scene with coastal rumble tumble and aquatic references. But it’s followed by the gnarled squall of ‘Citric Placid’, which has more in common with DFA dance punk than a roughed up Vampire Weekend, until its monster rock breakdown, that is. ‘Cayman Brac’ takes the charge further, a cowbell away from Radio 4 – ‘like The Rapture, but y’know, tropical’. But again Fair Ohs play on where they would have previously started the next track about islands and beaches. The pace is drained, and they finish the track off with something altogether different; a shimmering prog groove. It’s the trick of the album – starting with one track and finishing with another – and it’s how ‘Jungle Cats’ feels like a progression all over. The band are wholly recognisable as themselves, and tracks like ‘Ya Mustafa’ and ‘Mayan Flex’ feel like they were probably conceived soon after we saw them last, but there’s also smart detours into Indian pysch, hungrier playing throughout and an unrivalled sweetness on ‘Silver Jade Mountain’ and the closing ‘Salt Flats’ and ‘Mountain Bombs’.

Fair Ohs’ debut album was widely underappreciated, perhaps due to its simplicity, and on the face of it ‘Jungle Cats’ could meet the same fate, only it’s not simple at all, just very accessible. They’re not the same thing, and propping up the hooks are punk and pop complexities they should be credited for.

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