The Shtooks are: Andrew Hubbard, Lawrence Felice, Carlo Felice and Yann Mounot
It’s very rare a band comes along and you struggle to define a genre, compare to a mass market artist or say to yourself “I haven’t heard anything like that before”. The Shtooks however are a band that aren’t just genre defining, they’ve somehow defined their own genre and created something simply incredible with their 2016 EP Follow Me.
The first thing evident on the opening track Follow Me is that this band have a sense of humour, something that has been drained out of the music industry in recent years. “Now I’m ready to have a couple of beers and slap some tits” is spoken before the song drops into a moody rhythm and beat. The first verse is a perfect amalgamation of controlled vocals, long hanging guitar notes and superb drum ties that drive the song into the chorus which needs to be heard live to fully appreciate it.
The rest of the song follows this formula, blending exceptional music with perfect vocals and a middle eight section as good as any I’ve heard in recent times. Your Fool is a more mellow, groovy affair with a funkier vibe. Felice’s (Lawrence) guitar takes the lead in this track and Where are my Manners; it is clear that along with Hubbard, the two six stringers have already developed a perfect balance within their music so as not to undermine Carlo’s bass and in the penultimate track, it is the bass that provides the foundations for the explosive ending.
The final track for me is the EP’s highlight; with trumpets, Spanish style guitars and as is now expected, superb vocals and lyrics, Crimson shows a different side (again) to The Shtooks. it shows they aren’t just about having fun and getting their boogy on. It demonstrated wonderfully their musical capability as a band and as set out at the start, is like nothing I’ve heard before.
This is a truly exceptional work of music; for only four tracks to take you on such a roller-coaster of upbeat, to mellow, to funk really takes some doing but they do it superbly. It doesn’t feel disjointed despite the significant difference in sound on every track and the attention to detail throughout is impeccable. This band have, somehow, found a niche in the music market, it’s funk rock with a bit of indie, pop and ska thrown in for good measure and without doubt has cemented itself as one of the best EPs we have every reviewed.