'Pristine funk grooves drawn from southern blood but enriched with a northern soul'. AfterDarks Dean Hodge review the debut EP by Cornish band Stone Roots.
When you think of the music scene in Cornwall, some of the stereotypical type of artists that people can often connote with the scene here is either the husky-voiced, acoustic guitar-wielding singer-songwriter or its plethora of elegantly melodic folk bands.
It’s hard to dispute that Cornwall has these in abundance, and all of them are rather great too. But unless you live here and unless you are immersed enough in its local scene, what is often criminally overlooked is the sheer diversity of artists here.
Now and then, our shores can throw up darkly neo-psychedelic indie in the shape of sister duo Hockeysmith, retro psych-tinged garage-rock (Pastel Colours), electro-infused R’n’B (Abee Hague), soulful acoustic folk-pop (Polly Money), blistering garage-punk (Black Tambourines), or just about any musical sub-genre under the sun.
Then there is the sweetly soulful, pedal-to-the-floor funk-pop of Stone Roots. The name is an inspired choice for a band whose musical identity is grounded in the very roots of rock and blues, refined and polished into a sound that somehow sounds distinctly fresh. Given that the band have been together for only little over a year (and just recently joined by drummer Will Harris), their sonic chemistry and stage presence seems already fully formed. Their debut EP Paint The Town is laced with pristine funk grooves and pungent melodies that are drawn from southern blood but enriched with a northern soul.
Tease struts in with all the seductive, sophisticated swagger of a red-dressed, stiletto-heeled femme fatale, with riffs that bubble to the surface throughout without fully overheating. Do You Get A Kick continues the band’s template for swaying grooves and soaraway choruses, with funky sun-drenched guitar licks that would make Santana blush.
The title track Paint The Town weaves lyrics that epitomise the naïve cockiness of young teenage friends and lovers going out for a night on a moonlit town, with a thunderous baseline and sassy vocals. After the impressive opening triple salvo, things are taken down a couple of gears with closing track Makes You Wonder, a misty, R’n’B slow-burner of a track.
Soaring above the dynamic rhythm trio of messrs Chez Jeffery, Harry Bosworth and drummer Harry Clemence is the sultry, honey-glazed vocal of frontwoman Holly Turton. Her folksier, more acoustic-centred solo material is equally impressive, but her husky tone is the perfect fit for the syrupy blues-inspired melodies the band conjure up.
Paint The Town is an assured debut packed with hooks that simmer and sparkle, and enriched with the many colours of rock ‘n’ roll which collide together into an irresistible neon-glitzed palette of disco-infused funk.
Paint the Town will be launched on Thursday 25 June, at MONO, Falmouth (support from Polly Money). Entry £5 on the door.
By Dean Hodge
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