It was about this time last year that Cardiff four-piece Junior Bill & The Scallies introduced themselves to us, with their breathtakingly excellent ska-tinged pop.
Junior Bill (aka Rob Nichols) and his cohorts are back with a brand new EP, It All Goes Downhill From Here, and the good news is, they’ve picked up where they left off last time out. Their eclectic blend of Punky Reggae, Soul and Rock ‘n’ Roll is delivered with an irrepressible exuberance, so much so that even the streetwise, socially aware and gritty realism of the lyrical content is tempered with a sunny carnival of energy. ‘Defieto’ in particular plays that old-school ska and reggae dynamic off with perfection, whereby they manage to make politically-charged content go down easier with a spoonful of the steady rhythms and sunny guitars. The likes of ‘Five a day’, ‘Blood Stained Collars’ and the title track use much the same trick, while veering toward a [The] Specials kind of vibe of ska meets punk in a rather British way. Whether it’s depicting tales of cuts and closures in the community or a lack of opportunities facing a generation, the stark content is disguised amid the jaunty keys, upbeat rhythms and generally jovial tunes. Nichols’ prowess for interpreting and digesting what he sees around him in Cardiff and beyond is second to none, and It All Goes Downhill From Here witnesses a further honing of his craft for tale telling. It All Goes Downhill From Here is another superb ska-tinged collection of pop meets punk, in a peculiarly Cardiffian style. Young they may be but Junior Bill & The Scallies are starting to really carve out a rather special discography.
You can check out a few choice cuts below or pop on over here to stream it in full. You know it makes sense.