29 Nov 2022

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Cafe Fistfight - EP Review: Mourning Brew

19 May 2022 // A review by Kev Rowland

It feels like a lifetime ago now, but I guess it must be closer to 18 months, when I started daring to head into central Auckland and Dead Witch. I had agreed, in a moment of madness, to cover all the heats for the local battle of the bands competition and had no idea what I was letting myself in for. Four or five bands a night, chatting with the judges, we soon settled into a routine, and one of the bands which impressed me the very first time I saw them was Cafe Fistfight. At the time I had no idea that three of them were originally in Antares, and that the shredder was the brother of the drummer and had been involved in recording Antares back in the day. All I knew is that I loved them and had no idea what was going on as musically they made just no sense to me whatsoever.

I have been fortunate enough to see them play multiple times since then, and still have no idea what they are doing, except that I really enjoy them each and every time. Just why is that? In many ways they are progressive, but more in its truest sense as opposed to following a regressive nature. Their music is made of threads, ethereal and fleeting, yet they can also bond together to create something which is powerful and dynamic in nature. Drummer Dan Barker sits back in the pocket, relaxed, but ready to totally change the feel and attack of the music, while bassist Jesse Hudson used to be the lead guitarist in Antares and there is plenty of times where he is pushing far more notes and melodies than may be expected. In Chris Moutter they have a wonderful singer who is also an accomplished acoustic guitarist and then in Josh Barker they have a 7-string metallic shredder. Looking at it on paper it makes no sense whatsoever, yet all their singles have been standout classics, so I was definitely looking forward to this four-track EP.

They are a group who taken their one live cover song, Toxic, into directions never expected or envisaged by Britney and that is the one thing everyone agrees with Cafe Fistfight in that what they do should never work, but it does brilliantly every time. Thanks to Covid I haven’t see the guys play for a little while and only recognised two of the songs out of the four, while one is apparently also from the Antares days, Feel A Little. Opener Take Two is typical Cafe Fistfight fare in that one never knows quite what is going on, plenty of acoustic guitar but also their trademark breaks within the music. They get into a swing, and then it stops, shifts, and goes off in a totally different direction. They are gentle, but with an edge and bite, polished but also raw. This continues throughout all these songs, so one is taken on a journey where the traveller is never sure of the destination or the route to get there but knows it will be enjoyable throughout.

Closer Best Before starts again as an acoustic piece, then the bass comes in with a fascinating tribal drum pattern and some electric noodling, before it slows down again, then we get a crunch and are into a rocker, just watch out for the semi-pause as they lead in. This is so typical of these guys and relies on a band being incredibly tight throughout. The whole EP is a delight, and one I have really enjoyed playing, and surely that is what music is supposed to be about?

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Cafe Fistfight

Cafe Fistfight are New Zealand's leading Cafe-themed Acoustic hard rock band. Nourishing the soul and enriching the eardrums with bopping classics like Service with a Smile and King Hit Quiche these four fellas are sure to get you back for seconds.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Cafe Fistfight


Mourning Brew
Year: 2022
Type: EP

Other Reviews By Kev Rowland

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