Album: Coloured Clutter
Released: June 6 2011
Label: Alaska Sounds
The Savage Nomads - formed in the late 1960s - were, are and continue to be one of the most notorious street gangs ever to come out of The Bronx, New York. The Savage Nomads - the band - on the other hand are four terrifyingly talented teenagers from London. These two disparate groups not only share a name but also an unquestioningly committed inclusive ethic. The Bronx-based Nomads were notable for their refusal to be bound by racial barriers, whilst their youthful UK namesakes refuse to discriminate between influences; blending genres without blinking, fusing wildly varied vocal styles and literary influences with a true punk ethic that owes more to the spirit of ’76 than any so-called “punk” of the last twenty years, whilst effortlessly combining the originality and freedoms of hip-hop, poetry and electronica.
For a band so young, The Savage Nomads have been making all the right kind of noises in the short time they’ve been together. Boasting more youthful exuberance, hope and naivety than almost seems bearable, The Savage Nomads have already been hailed as saviours of contemporary music by many in a position to know. Mick Jones of The Clash, luminary DJ Don Letts and Gavin Martin at The Daily Mirror have all vocally offered their support and the band have garnered supportive reviews in Music Week, The Independent and Mojo as well as a rapidly-building online buzz. The aforementioned Mick Jones even had the band play some of their first-ever shows, when they were only mid way through their teens, at his Carbon Casino events in London. This fruitful and supportive relationship has continued – seeing the band play Shepherd’s Bush Empire supporting Jones’ Big Audio Dynamite in April.
“We’ve always been interested in… everything” says singer/guitarist Cole Salewicz and The Savage Nomads’ debut single, The Magic Eye (mixed by Mike Crossey – Foals, Arctic Monkeys) - taken from forthcoming album Coloured Clutter - defiantly bears out that statement. Perhaps the most exciting thing about The Savage Nomads is the band’s refusal to bow to current trends or cynical radio-aimed “verse/chorus” songwriting, relying instead on their own instinctive, modernist song structures, production and form. Crawdaddy scribe Emma Dennis notes the “surprising juxtaposition of language and style” that makes The Savage Nomads so stunningly compelling. These aren’t two-minute disposable pop songs. This is confrontationally intelligent contemporary music played by teenagers with a wealth of ideas pouring out of their mouths and fingers. Progressive, incisive math combines with art-punk, dub and garage rock to create something as complex but as ultimately cocksure as this description might suggest.
Instrumental album opener A Statement wouldn’t sound out of place on a Fourtet album, combining panned loops, live drums and twinkling, spiky guitars with weaving, layered orchestral backing. Even without the highly-wrought wordplay present on the rest of Coloured Clutter, A Statement says an awful lot and, predictably, is exactly what its name suggests.
Anti-paean to love A Dire Love showcases Salewicz’s at his bitter, biting, percussive best. The song’s climax finds the whole band half-chanting-half-shouting unaccompanied: “A sad sap gets attached, finds himself fixated, but a short slap will fix that feeling of elation”. What better way to follow this up than with a dub re-imagining (A Dire Dub). Few bands would venture into such territory several albums in. That The Savage Nomads perform this feat on their debut, that they shift gear so naturally and sustain the ebb and flow of Coloured Clutter so effortlessly, illustrates exactly the kind of complex animal this band is.
What The Angel Said is perhaps the most instant track on Coloured Clutter, roaring through its three minutes thirty seconds with urgent riffs, a chorus you’d happily sacrifice your hearing to and the kind of vast, raw confidence that can only be born of youth. Yet even The Savage Nomads’ “poppiest” songs could still be accused of that same incredible flaw first levelled at Bruce Springsteen’s songwriting - that their songs contain “more words in some individual songs than other artists had in whole albums”.
There are moments of reflection on Coloured Clutter too. The perfectly pitched Pineapple, practically a poem cast over a blissful, intricate musical ocean under which lurk haunting choral arrangements, buzzing synthesisers, arcing strings and possibly the record’s most beautiful moment: a desperately fragile lo-fi middle eight made all the more perfect for its brevity.
Listening to Coloured Clutter is as much an experience in action art as a musical excavation. Salewicz’s incisive and evocative lyrics owe as much to T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land as they do to Strummer, Jones et al or any songwriter from the last thirty years. But The Savage Nomad’s true greatness is not contained solely in a thoughtful, enigmatic and articulate front man. Lead guitarist Joe Gillick’s prodigious talent is a revelation made all the more impressive due to its quicksilver relationship (both harmonious and in hypnotic conflict) with Salewicz’s idiosyncratic, original voice. All this would be hopeless without a rhythm section that can deliver – and both Josh Miles and Billy Boone add a solid diversity that keeps the disparate guitars and wordplay in order.
The Savage Nomads? In their own words: “Welcome to the business”.
For more information, please contact James Parrish at Prescription PR on 07758 216559 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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