No, the title isn’t a Malkovich, it’s just that the debut offering from 5-piece Mancunian indie/reggae bandits Arkham Karvers is self-titled, something which I’m now feeling woefully under-prepared for. Moving swiftly on, this 3 track EP oozes with character and soul which makes for nothing but pleasant listening.
Reggae rhythms are joined by intricate riffs and wonderful vocals, resulting in 3 songs that feature echoes of some of the finest white reggae bands around with hints of Alex Turner’s influence presiding over certain elements – the backing vocals on opening track ‘You & I‘ feel like they’ve been lifted straight from AM. I’m immediately struck by the excellent production quality of the EP which can come as no real surprise as the legendary Alan Smyth was present behind the studio controls. It’s not quite reggae, ska or indie but remains to be a swirling cauldron with all 3 thrown in along with some added Madchester sounds for good measure.
All 3 songs make for excellent listening in the summer sun and the EP would be the perfect accompaniment for any outside activity. ‘Learn To Be Alright‘ is my favourite track on the EP thanks to the magnificently constructed bass lines, excellent guitar riffs and harmonies and, perhaps most of all, the lip-lickingly catchy chorus. The Manchester sound is key in giving Arkham Karvers their own unique appeal and this is something they don’t seem to shy away from – and why would they? There’s clearly been much more thought put into the percussion across the EP than most bands would consider, making for a pleasant rhythmic foundation and showing elements of musical knowledge and class.
As the guitar regularly strums out the reggae rhythms, the bass and keyboard/organ are often allowed to roam free, showing off their individual talents without ever becoming too intrusive or stealing them limelight. Indeed, these lads work perfectly as a unit and you can hear their consideration for each other’s abilities and the voice of Dave Gash provides the perfect guide to take you on your musical journey through the EP. As the hook of ‘Blind Eye‘ brings the album to a close, you’ll feel as though your ears have been treated to a rather special experience and I’m sure you’re going to have to listen to the EP over and over again.