Shanghai Hostage – Shanghai Hostage EP

For those who are into Folk, Acoustic with a sprinkling of Funk Rock, and a little bit of Reggae

Shanghai Hostage want to make you dance along to their folk, funk rock EP which is released on the 22nd March with a launch taking place at The Tin Music & Arts in Coventry on the Friday night. A band mixed in genres with influences from funk to folk to jazz to rock. Beth the guitarist – is a lover of reggae, the bassist Rich leans into the heavier side and works perfectly with drummer Matt who experiments on the spot with his technique. The sass and front of the band is the pianist Sophie who strings all the lyrics together that compose this EP, and there’s a new edition – Ian on guitar.

So what’s this whole EP about, well its like 5 or 6 music genres in one mix. A song for every different emotion. But the main thing that strikes you is that this sounds live. This is not a sound that’s heavily over produced. It’s raw. You could almost be at the gig with them. It’s got elements of improvisation too, and a sound that has a bit of 90’s acid thrown into the mix – albeit with a jazz twist.

The first track Back Burner is a straight up tap your feet dance track, Deffo first on the setlist, with it’s airy baseline and drumming and vocals that float around the song and give me Morrisey vibes, just not as sad. This one has the 90’s acid jazz feel – a few keyboard riffs nod to this.

Nomad follows, this is where the band shows its diversity, it’s a folk song with a punchy few lines that become a bit of a chant towards the end, lifting your emotions up. For this reason, this one could easily become a live favourite for their followers. It’s stripped back but the chorus is just, well, catchy.

The 3rd and penultimate track is a slower dreamier dance track – Rough ‘n’ Tumble – it reminds me of Amy Winehouse with a funkier edge. This comes through with the vocals on the track. They want you to think. A few time changes – helped by the drummer taking the lead on this one – give the jazz club edge – again we’re back with them at the gig. The keyboard breakdown is a dreamy piece, supported by the guitar.

And finally, Shanghai Hostage’s first EP ends with its final ballsy track Step To Far. Much like the first track it goes back to their main mission as a band, to make you dance. The bass line in this song is so catchy and one to bop ya head to with, the rhythm section keeping it moving. The vocals echo the rest of the bands riffs – playing off of each other! And near the end a cool distorted guitar solo ends the EP.

The new single Step To Far is out now so give it a listen. You can see the video below. And if you want to show the band some support then catch them at their aforementioned release party.

Ben Wilson