The Soggy Po Boys – No Worse For Wear
Broad reaching and packed full of cheeky funk tones, The Soggy Po Boys’ No Worse For Wear is a tumbling, rich collection of songs.
’80 Lives’ immediately showcases Stuart Dias’ gravelly vocal that at times leans towards Louis Armstrong and at others pulls back into a softer tone that caresses the ears. The ambling, swaying feel to the track feels something like the woozy wander home after an evening on the town. After that brief journey, ‘Hear and Know’ perks things up a bit, like a sonic shot of caffeine to get things really moving. There are shades of marching band sounds to be found, leading into ‘Rose Colored’, a smoky and sultry tune that feels as though it would fit in a bar in the south of France a hundred years or so ago. There is a real sense of humour that runs through No Worse For Wear, and yet in never ends up in the realm of parody or pastiche. There is a real respect and admiration for the genre it sits within, and the music is played to an excellent standard. ‘Plenty Of Time’ feels as though it would sit well on a movie soundtrack – for sure, it comes close to some of the sounds created by the March Forth Marching Band, and is given extra special treatment by the return of Stuart Dias’ groovy vocal. ‘Linguica Strut’ heads into a full on moment of pandemonium, with all instruments blaring and the cymbals really ringing out, bringing the listener to the album’s true heights. Despite the craziness, all the instruments come through loud and clear, with the piano in particular really shining through. Even so, there are moments of softer, more gentle relief – ‘Come Home’ is another woozy, yearning track that sensitively reaches out to the listener and offers itself as a warm blanket of comforting sound. In many ways that’s the way to really treat the album in general – it’s like comfort food, rich and warming, and able to go beyond the initial functional levels and reach a person at a deeper, emotional level. What is it that these songs draw out of a person? It’s hard to say. Of course, it’s going to be different for everyone who listens, but have no doubt that No Worse For Wear has the ability to draw out distant memories in many people, no matter their background. As the album begins to wrap things up, we pass through the tentative notes of ‘When I’m Gone’, which creates a vast cavernous sound as if it is being performed in a distant, secret venue to a select audience, before coming to the concluding ‘Good Enough To See It’. As a final track, it starts with all the same wooziness that the album began with, bringing us fully circle. It’s a satisfying end, and on looking back, it’s a satisfying album that allows for the listener to find all kinds of gems along the way.