You’d have thought an EP so all-encompassing as to embody melancholy, ambience, angular fits, tropical riddims, cutesy whistling and whimsy would leave you feeling rather limp and overwhelmed, perhaps vaguely akin to how this sentence did. But it just so happens The Cads’ Spark Up In Style EP encompasses the whole lot, and I still feel gleeful. Overjoyed to be alive.
Indeed, jolty, proggy ramshackle-pop is the genre of the moment. The Cads are probably peed off with the copious Foals likenings, but it’s true. Since Foals’ coming a few years ago, many a them-lite band have picked up axes and thought up some funny time signatures, bumpy beats and intricate jangles to mingle together; NME even claimed there was an entire scene in Foals’ hometown of Oxford paying homage. Now, The Cads are similar(ish) for sure, but they do it their own way.
Take opener ‘Rivers’, where guitars entwine with saccharine harmonies to marvellous effect. As soon as the kit thunders in, and reverb-stricken guitars entangle our ears in their meandering intricacies, we are hooked. This is hook-laden shit. ‘We are forever shoegazing’ they declare. What brilliantly ostentatious beings they are. Foals have never written a lyric as memorable have that now, have they? Cooing whistles ensue, leading us into ‘Lanterns’, a similarly upbeat youngling which straddles both TDCC and The Maccabees.
Elsewhere, the synth-laden, bass-charged, Chilis-via-Phoenix amalgam that is ‘Skins’ gets us wiggling. And in ‘Selah’, the disparate finale, tribalistic, Caribbean-infused vibes are exhaled in an idiosyncratic instrumental that leads my tiny little brain to conjure up the peculiar (and brilliant) hypothetical scenario that West Indian chillwave might actually exist.
They’ve entranced me. Only God would know how to sum up this band’s celestial offering as a whole. All I can say is I loved all 18.5 minutes of it, and that I am pleased that I’ve made it through writing this whole review without mentioning the ‘eschewing being stereotypically INDIE thing’.
From Huw Oliver