Bushwiccan - Metropol EP
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: Sept. 15, 2012
"Malatesta," the debut single from the Brooklyn duo Bushwiccan is an interesting, if not, challenging listen. Channeling overt Morrissey influences with a stab of funk, new wave and lo-fi hip-hop, it is an earnest and winning effort and veritable proof that if bands try harder, they really can create something original, long-lasting and comfortable. The group is comprised of Canadian singer-songwriter Clark Waughbly, who moonlights as a musician to offset a career as an economic policy writer and talking head on a 24-hour news network. The yin to his yang is African-American rapper/producer Jon Suede Jury who provides the beats that marry exceptionally well with Waughbly's honeyed vocals.
For all the charms of "Malatesta," the real head-turner is the "Ireland," which sadly is the only song on the EP in which Waughbly's voice rises above the music and plants itself firmly at the center of the song. But it is here in these three minutes that one can see that Bushwiccan is on to something that is definitely worth following. This is just a breezy, summery song that has a gloss and sheen that is both magnetic and charismatic.
Even on its lesser numbers, namely "Sunday Night," and "Metropol," there is still something convincing about the duo's output that is hard to put down. The title track feels faintly like a Manhattan rooftop party. Though Waughbly's vocals start off a bit stale, he gathers steam on the bridge and it is from there that the song really makes a dent. The circular chorus has an urban buzz that feels culled from many a night spent darting between bodegas and bars. Distinctly New York and distinctly different, it is further proof of a group that does not feel confined to make a record that will pander to the masses.
This is thought-provoking, artisanal indie rock, crafted on their terms. And hot damn is it something. While "Sunday Night," is definitely bouncy and bright, Waughbly's vocals never reveal a conviction or a clarity that stamps the song as indelible. If anything, Suede Jury's shimmering soundscape is why the song is worth its weight. But that very point proves why Metropol is far from perfect. A duo should always be the cohesive work of two and on "Sunday Night," it is all about Suede Jury.
Make no mistake about it, Metropol is sophisticated and brainy. But underneath that veneer is something undeniably clever and an indispensable penchant for indie-pop. And it is those very traits that make Metropol so ultimately rewarding. Sure it may not grab you on the first listen, but give it time, let it soak in, chances are you'll be happy you did.