17 Aug 2022
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Krispy & The Pooch - EP Review: The Reckless Eclectic: Part One

25 Jul 2022 // A review by Steve Shyu
Waiheke’s electro-soul duo Krispy & the Pooch are back. And I don’t just mean back with brand new music, the lads relocated from Berlin back to little ol’ Aotearoa, and this new EP The Reckless Eclectic: Part One is the first produced and recorded on home soil. Though the duo are renowned for their, well, eclectic combination of soul, electronica, funk and pop, one couldn’t blamed in expecting a Kiwiana flavour somewhere in the mix!

Don’t be fooled by the name of the opening track Innocent Groove; the song is a sexy and sly little ditty, like a Motown tune whisked with a touch of modern rock. I find myself consciously avoiding comparing this one with Red Hot Chili Peppers, but that instrumental bounce and the playful scatting vocal delivery reminded me of the Californian alt-rock icons too much to not mention it.

There’s the more brooding and pensive Man in the Hat, to which there’s also a spooky little YouTube video to go with it. The blend of downbeat grooves and distant harmonica sets the mood well, with the payoff released in the chorus, where the vocal melody dishes up four quick bars in a major key.

In the Valley delivers some of that classic Kiwi reggae sound, the tantalising yet relaxing soundtrack for one’s Sunday morning café stop. Now, pardon my limited ability of naming certain instruments solely by ear, but credit must be given in the use of what sounds like a harpsichord in the last quarter of the song. Not often do you hear that instrument in modern music, so special mention for making the most of something different.

Is there such thing as too much groove, soul and funk? Certainly not on this EP. Key hits like Convenience Funk and Don’t Play Yourself are perfect representations of what Krispy & the Pooch are all about. Take rolling bass guitars, add some of the best 80’s funk beats, apply present-day pop sensibilities, chuck layers of synths in and you get a pretty good idea of the feel.

A personal highlight is easily Cicadian Rhythm, and that’s not just because I’m an entomology fanatic! Extra points for the clever title, referencing the biological term “circadian rhythm”, which very quickly makes sense as the song begins with the unmistakable buzz of cicadas, after which guitars and a slip-sliding bassline is brought in. There’s a steady tambourine rattle as though to further mimic the namesake insects’ call. The lyrics are also amusing, bridging life philosophies to a cicada’s life cycle with plenty of whimsy. In the end, Cicadian Rhythm serves as a ballad to the good old days, and a love letter to the summer season. It’s creative and clever stuff!

Speaking of summertime, The Reckless Eclectic: Part One is pretty much the perfect musical accompaniment to the sunny and warm days, which it really isn’t right now. One wonders if Krispy & the Pooch have kept this in mind, and later this year we’d be treated to a Reckless Eclectic, Part 2, filled with more electro-soul, more trumpets and saxophones, and more summery vibes. One can only hope, and with the way the current EP sounds, we might all get some new, bright, sunny backyard tunes to groove to.


Check out Krispy & the Pooch's Instagram page, and visit their Linktree for music and videos.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )
 

About Krispy & The Pooch

New Zealand born duo Krispy & The Pooch have at last emerged from the grey and icy winter to warm our bodies with their energetic and expansive EP, Something Strange for Change. A blend of soothing neo-soul grooves, bone-rattling gutter funk and ear-worming electro, their new release is simultaneously a reflection of the boys' varied musical influences and a distinctly modern sound inspired by the hypnotic dance music of their new home in Berlin.

Kriston Batistic (aka Krispy) and Simon Townsend (aka The Pooch) met in the squalor of a decaying student house in a wealthy suburb in Auckland five years ago. To fend off the rats, the boys were forced to come together to produce wall-shaking old-school hip-hop. Having garnered radio play across New Zealand, the project came to an end when Krispy moved abroad to further himself as a musician in the renowned scene of Berlin. Like a real good boy, The Pooch was soon to follow.

In the short time that they've been reunited, the boys have already created their debut three-track release as Krispy & The Pooch. Something Strange for Change flows out in all directions yet still remains harmonious; the songs are underpinned by a lyrical exploration that effortlessly slips between tongue-in-cheek playfulness and honest tenderness. In Krispy, the lyricist and vocalist, every track is a showcase of his impressive vocal range - in yo-yoing from humble and soulful crooning in Better to a rasping rhythmic bravado spat out in Where's My Phone?

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Krispy & The Pooch

Releases

Drop The Needle
Year: 2020
Type: EP
Something Strange For Change
Year: 2019
Type: EP

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