Well known by Canberrans in general for its bus interchange, and by local music aficionados as the home of The Phoenix Bar, Civic’s East Row has also been adopted as the moniker of funk/ska/blues/soul collective East Row Rabble. Comprising songwriter Ben Drysdale (Beth and Ben), members of the Brass Knuckle Brass Band and other local outfits, the band has now unleashed its debut EP.
Followers of the band will be chuffed to hear that the EP captures earlier singles, released as tasters. Lead and highlight track ‘Aliens In My Brain’ carries instant appeal in its soulful tide. Drysdale’s smooth vocals are mated with a funky guitar core and brilliant brass instrumentation which really makes the song glow. There is a strong brass riff throughout the track, with a standout trumpet solo at the bridge. The sci-fi references cover the whole range from Star Wars back to the TV classic Lost in Space.
Punctuated by hard hitting horn blasts, the swaggering ‘Good for Me’ has a roaring ‘20s feel. With its speakeasy vibe, it would make an ideal backing track for a burlesque routine.
The funky ‘One For The Kokonut’ cruises into view with a bright chorus and soft rock sensibilities. Female backing vocals boost the song, which includes a surprise reggae injection from the brass section.
The acoustic guitar led ‘Chalk Me Up’ brings to mind the sound of singer-songwriter Passenger, while the funky ‘Strawberries and Cream’ is full of pop culture references and comes with a smooth sax solo.
The EP features impressive songwriting, with catchy tunes, solid choruses and appealing lyrics. All songs project an upbeat mood, with most having danceable rhythms. In gestation for two years, the EP will be launched at the Polish White Eagle Club on June 22 and it well worth a listen.