Easydread are a 7 piece Reggae band initially hailing from Luton. The band hit the road pretty fucking hard in 2016, sharing the stage with some of the best Reggae and Ska acts around, week after week, yet still found time to record their EP Fyah and we at Yack! were able to weasel our way in to getting ourselves an exclusive early listen before it drops on January 21st.
One of Easydread’s most obvious assets is their penchant for a memorable, catchy chorus and title track ‘Fyah’ ushers you to your table and serves up before you’ve even had a chance to take your coat off and sit down. The groove has your feet tapping before you’ve begun to notice and before long, you find yourself indulging in a blend of big harmonies and a rocking bass.
This seven piece contains a three piece brass section alongside the solid foundation of drums, guitar, bass and keyboards. It is evident from the outset (and increasingly obvious if you’ve ever seen the band perform) that the level of musicianship within this group is of an exceptionally high standard, it’s great to hear a record where so many voices can be heard together harmonizing and supporting lead vocalist Steve’s powerful yet melodic effort.
Lyrically, the band attempts to coerce their audience into “thinking as well as skanking”, and ‘Fyah’ takes a direct approach to this, with the repeated refrain of “Ask questions!” challenging their listeners to not just accept the status quo. The penultimate track, the face-melting, soul shaker of a track ‘Rebel’ pokes at you like an annoying child, egging you on to think for yourself at every turn whilst simultaneously providing you with a sonic treat by combining heavy guitar riffs and with a naturally groovy reggae vibe, a testament to the ability of the drummer in combining contrasting styles so seamlessly into something so simply enjoyable.
The production on the album is truly noteworthy, where many bands will be fighting among themselves to be the loudest or most prominent part of the record, Easydread, and their producer Ben Garraway at the Sound Garage in Kempston, have made a conscious effort to take a step back, really allowing the natural dynamics of the band to breathe. This chilled out approach to the overall sound allows for more to shine through and ‘Ode to Mandy’ really hammers that fact home with another huge chorus matched with a slow but bouncy beat, the subtleties in the keyboards really take you on a journey through the song.
‘The Wake Of You’ marks the mid way point of the Fyah EP and doffs the cap a little to the classic reggae sound, the brass section really being allowed to express themselves whilst maintaining a steady melody, the bass pounds relentlessly providing a bedrock that gives the track its easy skank rhythms.
Final track ‘Scrotes’ is a touching tribute to the hometown of the band and it’s enlightened inhabitants the knife wielding, hoodie wearing, urban pickpockets. “This town is full of Scrotes!” announces the chorus, and the resultant verses fleshing this out are dynamic, fast and intelligently constructed. It is an ideal conclusion to the feast that has been this EP, it brings together all of the triumphant yet tight sounds of the main course, and then just like any good dessert should, offers an extra helping in the form of an explosive jam session that results in one last blast at the chorus which will be stuck in your mind for days to come.
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Words by Rich Taylor