[sic] Magazine

Fair Ohs – Jungle Cats

When they started out, it was difficult to reconcile Vampire Weekend ‘s brand of smug, gap-yah Africana with the grey streets of the Western cities we, in the main, call home. Happily, Fair Ohs ‘ take on similar material is altogether more palatable for a number of reasons. The first of these is that Jungle Cats likely comes without Paul Simon ‘s approval, for these ten, all-too-brief summertime jams still retain a scruffy, UK punk feel despite their festooning with giddy guitar scales flecked with seaside aromas and the distinct feeling of sand between the toes.

Where the London band do encroach on Ezra Koenig -style world-beat they also have the nous to temper its saccharine sound with some shred – and cuts like “Silver Jade Mountains” are all the better for it. Vampire Weekend never had a song half as enjoyable as “Ya Mustafa” too. This wonderful album centrepiece is based on a 50s Arabic/French track of the same name and seems to have unadulterated sunshine woven into the soles of its feet.

Faced with this laid-back carnival there may be concerns however for the long-term likeability of Jungle Cats , its suitability perhaps framed only by a mood or season. In the same way that Abe Vigoda were still a punk band despite their tropical flourishes though, so too do Fair Ohs have a few tricks up their sleeves. There’s a classic slacker groove to “Panama Red Jets”, for example, a crumpled drum beat borrowed from the likes of These New Puritans in “Sleep” as well. The high-tempo “Citric Placed” is full of ants-in-their-pants mathletics, and it’s as messy and noisy as any Fair Ohs track to date.

Yet, as per Everything Is Dancing – Fair Ohs’ likeable debut which equally rang with “East African guitar music colliding with Indian ragas and Cuban rhythms” – the strains of Jungle Cats that linger longest in the memory are those primarily inspired by the hypnotic melodies of the northern Sahara, such as those the band cut with woozy sax and straight-up indie-punk on “Green Apple Milk”. It’s this colourful blend that’ll guarantee their status as this year’s undisputed first choice for mid-afternoon BBQ blowouts, and keep you coming back for seconds.

Advised downloads: “Ya Mustafa” and “Citric Placed”

~Jungle Cats is released 27th May 2013 on Dream Beach .~