When I pressed play on this LP, I’m not sure I was expecting what came – ‘Everything’s Alright’ opens with a gentle, indie-sounding acoustic guitar with the soft voice of Kimberley Bo. It worked well, but it didn’t really grab my attention straight off the bat. Then came in the hip-hop inspired verses of Ben Jones, an almost melodic rapping that reminded me of Ed Sheeran’s forays into the genre. His Manchester accent adds an edge of roughness that aren’t present in Sheeran’s songs though, and this works well to complement Bo’s vocals.
“Here’s a duo that know what it means to duet. Their tight vocals and beautifully timed lyrics are a credit to Manchester’s song writing history” – Liam Bradford, BBC Radio Manchester
Jones displays his singing chops on the next track, ‘Devil’s Lair’. It’s here where their music takes a turn towards your more standard indie numbers, and I definitely heard shades of Parachutes-era Coldplay as the duo sing about relationships, a cliché topic, but well delivered nonetheless. The duo’s harmonies are on point, and are dotted around the track – they don’t overwhelm the song, and really come to the fore during the chorus. Simple percussion helps to keep the track from being too bare as Bo leads out of the track with an acapella line of “I’ve been waiting here, I’ve been waiting for you”.
There’s a definite move away from the typical indie sounds in the title track – blues-rock inspired progressions and a scratch-based verse-riff definitely picks up the pace after the ‘Devil’s Lair’, especially after the chorus where a short burst chords are jammed out to great effect. Jones’ guitar playing is better represented here than on any other track, and Bo’s falsetto vocals work very well, adding some pop overtones to ‘Plasticine’, allowing the duo bounce off each other with ease.
Closer ‘Ayva’ was also a bit unexpected – there’s a folk-song vibe to it, and once again Bo and Jones’ vocals work very well together, the higher tone of Bo being added intermittently throughout Jones’ verses, and joining in the chorus to a saddening, almost ethereal effect. Even though it was just an EP and track-ordering may not have been a big priority, I couldn’t help but think this track could have gone before ‘Plasticine’ to give the it a bit more of a noticeable flow, but it hasn’t really changed my view on the pair musically.
In a relatively short time, the duo have been prolific in their gigging, playing alongside acts like Badly Drawn Boy and James Atkin of EMF-fame. With such a variety genres to draw upon for inspiration, I’m hopeful that they won’t just fall to the wayside with the plenty of other indie bands trying to make it, and I’d love to hear more rapping from Jones on future tracks.
This article was written by Mo Hafeez.