[Album Review]: Savage Nomads – ‘Coloured Clutter’

‘There were no prior circumstances or meditated answers, / I made it by thinking fast and on my feet’

As Savage Nomads would be the first to claim, the influences evident in their work are too innumerable to mention. The more prominent influences of indie, dub, prog and shoegaze don’t even skim the surface of the influences Savage Nomads have absorbed and forged into their own sound. Singer Cole Salecwicz explains: “Music is very liberating, and in it you can find all of life’s truths. When we realised that, we decided we never wanted to play anything that sounded the same as other people”.  It is clear from their debut album ‘Coloured Clutter’ that the band have stayed true to this ethic since not only do they possess a unique sound, a difficult feat in itself to pull off on your debut, but there are also moments where the band remain surprising and undeniably brave.

From first listen it is clear that as a band Savage Nomads operate as a unit, intuitively in sync with one another in their pursuit of musical freedom. Cole’s gobby, syncopated motor-mouthed vocal delivery immediately grabs your attention and refuses to let you go. Switching effortlessly between spitting out rhymes to flamboyantly crooning for his soul, Cole comes from a re-emerging breed of singer that unapologetically explore their vocal capabilities that has sadly been missing in recent decades. This unconventional vocal approach is complemented by Joe Gillick’s equally idiosyncratic guitar playing who has a knack of choosing the note in a progression that you weren’t thinking of, but needed to hear. In this way his hooks lodge themselves firmly in your consciousness. Holding up the rhythm section bassist Josh Miles and drummer Billy Boone keep the music firmly grounded and on course while adding vitality and a cohesive dynamic that ties the Savage Nomads’ sound together.

The songs that kick off ‘Coloured Clutter’ act as a perfect introduction to the band’s varied sound. The album begins with the gently melodic instrumental ‘A Statement’ before launching the schizophrenic ‘The Shamanic Verses’ which swings between ska rhythmic verses before delving into dream-like choruses, like breaking the surface of the sea and grabbing short gasps of air before diving into the depths again. The scope of their sound then expands in the delay laden guitars and tribal chanting of ‘The Magic Eye’. Divided by the experimentalist ‘A Dire Dub’, the album gets a second Frankenstein-like jolt of life in ‘What the Angel Said‘. Riding along on a jazz influenced syncopated riff, the song jerks you back into vivid clarity just as you were starting to get all hazy. It is these unpredictable moments that make Coloured Clutter’ such an invigorating listen. Tracks ‘Pineapple’ and ‘Part 1.’ act as unexpected spoken word interludes against soporific backgrounds that echo The Doors’ ‘Horse Latitudes‘, while Eternal Elizabeth’ drifts on an ocean of sparse melodies before An Empty Seat’ builds from this murky territory into an urgent chorus that has its sights firmly set on the stratosphere.

The apparent element that distinguishes ‘Coloured Clutter’ as such a gem is the thread of continuity that Savage Nomads weave throughout. Whereas many contemporary artists regard the album as merely a vessel to deliver a collection of songs, Savage Nomads fully utilise the form to its full potential as a unique and coherent body of work. All the songs, though markedly individual, work together to create something grander and more than merely the sum of its parts.

In short, ‘Coloured Clutter’ is a nomadic journey from wave to wave and star to star: Never resting, always moving and always interesting.

‘Coloured Clutter’ is available from record stores on Alaska Sounds now.

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