by Claire Barley | @clairembarley
Melbourne funk soul collective Saskwatch have recently released their third LP Sorry I Let It Come Between Us. Just a little over a year has passed since the band dropped Nose Dive, proving that there is no rest for the wicked.
If Nose Dive was a slight departure from the unashamed funk pop of their first release, this latest bunch of tunes is very different. I must admit I was a little disappointed on the first listen. Where was the shiny, happy horn filled single, à la Your Love of album No. 1, or Hands of No. 2? Whereas the first two albums were super tight and punchy, this album is much more moody and fuzz heavy. As is often the case though, this album is a grower- what it lacks in immediacy it makes up for in depth and soul.
First single I’ll Be Fine is pure fuzz, all sassy distorted vocals and guitars. This track is probably the most reminiscent of old-school Saskwatch and it’s as optimistic as lead singer/mega babe Nkechi Anele’s lyrics get. This empowering message gives way to sadder, more melancholic vibes throughout the rest of the album.
Every Morning is deeply sad, slow and soft. It conveys the emptiness of heartbreak in a way that emotive ballads don’t come close to (Adele, eat your heart out). See also Blind for the same falsetto heavy, soulful sadness. The title track is similarly minimalist, with a sparse arrangement and sweetly sad lyrics.
Standout track Spitting Image is a slice of genius; a dark and sexy track with interesting lyric/melody interaction. The acoustic intro gradually builds to a cacophony of fuzzy guitars, horns and crashing percussion. Time to Let You Go gets an honourable mention for it’s cowbell, perhaps the most distinctive and underrated musical instrument in modern song writing.
This is an album that conveys heartbreak in all its’ complexities. The tone is at times empowered, at other times sad, apologetic, reflective and uncertain. Downsizing from 9 members to 6, the band have developed a sound that is more mature and distinctive. Shamelessly feel-good, shiny pop songs have been eschewed in favour of greater emotional complexity. Although it may take a few more listens to catch on than past releases, this is an album that sees Saskwatch going from strength to strength.
Sorry I Let It Come Between Us is out now.