Review: Bombay Show Pig EP

-AnnavanKooij

Alternative-rock duo Bombay Show Pig, comprised of members Mathias Janmaat and Linda van Leeuwen, have appeared out of nowhere in the last couple of years. Following the release of their highly praised debut album in 2012, they’ve burst out of the Dutch music scene and played a bunch of European and international gigs. This month, they’ll be showcasing their talent at Belgium’s Dour Festival. Now they’re breaking into new territory with their first Australian EP. Simply put, it rocks.

It’s easy to hear their influences in the bold opening track ‘Get Lost in the Shuffle’. Part psychedelic-rock, part garage-rock. It’s all there, and it’s all great … mostly. Vocal lines are somewhat lost under layers of reverb, distortion and loud opening guitar riffs. When the lyrics do come through they seem to be more of a melodic accompaniment rather than a meaningful message – not that it matters. If Bombay Show Pig have an agenda to get people moving to their music, they won’t have a hard time doing just that.

In the following five tracks, the EP traverses a number of sub-genres. From the melancholic, xx-like ‘Making Friends’ to the grungy, low-fi ‘On A Plane’, it’s clear the Bombay Show Pig loves to experiment. These are some incredibly talented musicians with a quality release, but certain elements let down the package as a whole. ‘Shackles and Chains’ is a song that seems to sit on the outset as the weakest offering – above all else, it just feels uninspired and doesn’t seem to go anywhere. Stacked up against the other tracks, it hardly compares.

‘Timewaster’, does more than make up for the slight hiccup. Intoxicatingly catchy, it’s hit-single material that leaves such an imprint that you’ll be left wishing the rest of the release followed suit. The EP concludes with ‘Wires’ and does its best to close the EP – but even for such an upbeat track, it doesn’t quite stick the landing. It’s different to the others, but then again, all of the tracks on this release are. They don’t all gel together, but maybe that’s what the band were aiming for.

Bombay Show Pig attempt to blend different styles in a genre stirfry to create something rich, new and exciting – like the animal-human hybrids from The Island of Doctor Moreau but less creepy, much cooler, and far more Dutch. On the whole, the band succeeds at creating a unique sound. Each song feels like it’s presenting something new and it is clearly identifiable as a Bombay Pig Show track – but they don’t quite mesh together to create a sense of unity, though that shouldn’t discount Jamnaat and van Leeuwen’s ambition and scope. They’ve accomplished everything their debut EP needed to do – give a small taste of the type of sounds they can create.

Not only have the band demonstrated their willingness to break free from the (often stifling) indie music scene and create fresh music worth listening to, they’ve done it with style. First outings are difficult and this is no exception. It’s a solid release not without its flaws. More than anything, it leaves a sense of excitement for what’s to come. By the time their next release rolls around, it’ll be hard to not get lost in Bombay Show Pig’s shuffle.

Alex McDiarmid

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