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The Sub-Gents ‘Soulstitute’

 The Sub-Gents ‘Soulstitute’

A single review

In music as in life (the two are indivisible to many of us), there are certain inalienable truisms, and one that I would like to propose is that three-piece bands should be afforded respect before you’ve heard any of their music. Often as not, a three-piece band’s music will tend to be bold and challenging, because having only three instruments available to fill in a song’s ‘blank canvas’ that trio will have to be sonically inventive.

And so, it is with great pleasure that I can confirm that after listening to ‘Soulstitute’, the freshly-minted single by the Scarborough-based trio the Sub-Gents, that I feel vindicated because it’s muscular and edgy and satisfies all the above criteria.

The band’s muscular rhythm section, which is comprised of Shaun (drums) and Noel (bass), start proceedings off dramatically by establishing a bedrock of cavernous proportions. Over this assured foundation nominal head, Gent Fletcher Stewart (guitar sorcery and lead vocals) introduces the songs key guitar motif – a serpentine-like earworm of a riff that sounds like both a rebuke and a plea.

Fletcher’s vocals are urgent and accusatory (a difficult trick to pull off that) and the lead vocal is given additional emphasis by the inclusion of a double-tracked backing vocal that’s an octave higher. In the second verse, this is switched around with the lead vocal ascends an octave higher whilst the backing vocal changes down. This is a neat trick which has the net effect of ramping up the song’s already taut sense of drama.

Interestingly, instead of a traditionally sung chorus, the band take the brave decision to opt instead to flex there not inconsiderable musical muscles, extemporising intelligently on the song’s default guitar riff. This has the net effect of playing with the song’s inherent tension, pushing and pulling it hither and thither to great effect – thrilling stuff.

Full marks to the Sub-Gents then for having the cojones to experiment with received notions of what constitutes a ‘single’s dynamics and structure, because with ‘Soulstitute’ they carry this off with both élan and style.

Download: ‘Soulstitute’

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Written By: Rahman the Writer

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