At first glance, you’d be forgiven for expecting Krispy & The Pooch to sound like the glut of similarly-named bands coming out of America’s Midwest emo revival. In reality, their self-proclaimed “stanky soulful gutter funk” is a pleasant surprise... revealing a deceptively subtle flair for playful melodies and polished production. While their strengths can also serve to be their greatest weakness at times, debut EP Something Strange For Change is the perfect introduction to the Berlin-based NZ duo, showcasing a clear talent while leaving enough room to expand upon their potential.
Each track’s disparate focus can all be tied under the banner of Kriston Batistic’s soulful croon and Simon Townsend’s tight, punchy sound. Whether it be a visit to The Market - with more than a passing resemblance to Carnivorous Plant Society’s brand of jazz-tinged indie pop - or the gentle life-affirming electric piano chords of mental illness ballad Better, Krispy and the Pooch sound comfortable in whatever skin they wear.
The band impresses lyrically as well, searching for meaning in routines and mundane situations. A personal highlight is the swagger-filled Where’s My Phone?, which sees the pair strutting through funky guitar riffs and the tale of a particularly privacy-opposed girlfriend.
It’s the band at its peak in the EP... matching light-hearted puns and relatable every-day storytelling with easily digestible funk-pop.
However, for all their experimentation, there are moments when Krispy & The Pooch’s versatile styles clash with a surprisingly safe restraint in song dynamics. It’s particularly noticeable on Where’s My Phone? where the duo seem content to stay put on the launching pad instead of rocketing into the chorus, bringing the coy tones of the track down a notch. Polish in the mix can also lead to over-polish; for instance, the saxophone line in Better isn’t as powerful as it could be to accentuate the song’s groove.
While these are minor gripes overall, a three track EP has a limited amount of time to impress, and thus they feel a little more major. Regardless, Something Strange For Change is a promising start for Krispy and the Pooch, and we’ll be following their activity with high interest and higher expectations.
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Released: 27 Feb 2019