It must be one of pop music’s biggest mysteries: how did Egyptian Blue manage to create such a singular sound within a genre that’s so densely populated right now? Surely someone should launch an investigation into it. Does it have something to do with specific guitar pedals or a vintage bass amp? A one-of-a-kind drum kit perhaps? For a humble music writer like myself, there’s no other option than to bask in the glory of the band’s brand new single ‘Matador’.
In a sense, ‘Matador’ – along with recent offering ‘Geisha’ – feels like Egyptian Blue’s white-knuckled revenge on the pandemic that halted their progress. Finally, the Brighton-based four-piece are back to their best: releasing fierce post punk songs that have been fan favourites during their talked-about live performances. The band’s train is rolling down the tracks again and ‘Matador’ sounds just like it. The track’s best moment comes a minute and a half in, when the train seems to enter some sort of tunnel, with drums clattering down on the listener from different sides, before the song suddenly shoots up to speed again.
We won’t claim ‘Matador’ is the most boundary-pushing song you’ll ever hear. The song is just a lot of good fun, and sometimes, that’s enough, right? For all their unrelenting energy, Egyptian Blue are a reminder of how joyful it must be to be in a band with your mates. Sure, they’ve had to delay their breakthrough a bit, but for a band founded on the foundations of early Foals and Maccabees to be handpicked as a support act by Yannis Philippakis and release on Felix White’s YALA! Records, that must be quite special.
On the new single, frontman Andy Buss offers: “‘Matador’ is a remark on the unwanted perils of keeping toxic relationships at an arms length, yet being unwillingly compliant and searching for the exit. I seem to recall the song coming together in a sole session after a 20 minute jam. With some songs you walk out of the practice room feeling excited and strangely liberated. I think that feeling was really captured at the time.”
Photo by Steve Gullick
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