Live Can Prevail
Here is the latest from Electric Wire Hustle. When they first started making music there was the wow-factor of a jazz school-styled slickness, inventiveness; whether they liked it or not they were next-generation flag-carriers of the early Trinity Roots sound, or at least that type of sound; the soul-food soup of jazz, funk, soul, the odd hint of a pop song – all wrapped up in the meaningless and bland “Pacifica” or “Aotearoa Roots” (formerly the Welly-Dub) scene/s.
The real talent in Electric Wire Hustle, I’m sure of this, was drummer Myele Manzanza – he shows a maturity in his music-making and approach – that made me want to listen to EWH even though the band’s overall sound wasn’t really my cuppa.
He did the smart thing then, moved on, released a neat solo album and continues to work in a constantly surprising range of ways, as DJ, producer and musician, collaborating with players all over the world.
Electric Wire Hustle is now a two-piece, the selling point – for most – is Mara TK’s voice, it draws comparison, most often, with Marvin Gaye, those sorts of soul sounds. And he can sing. Certainly. It would be churlish to say he could not.
But he has nothing to say and no engaging way to say it – and this new version of EWH is a splatter-paint mess of near-ideas and strange quirks. Songs explode into post-dubstep pastiches, or ride on the crest of some neon-lit neo-soul vibe.
The songwriting is, well, just not there.
It’s a clusterfuck of soul-crooning over beat-melanges, directionless, insipid, often downright revolting.
It sounds like what it is – people with a modicum of talent but no direction, no idea of taste, no understanding of how to hold the palette, and what to put on there, much less what to choose and how to paint.
Ghastly stuff – which will no doubt have been receiving three-line raves from fly-by-night “tastemaker” blogs. Well, they deserve each other – this is the soundtrack for fashion victims.