EP Review – Incidental Friend by Theatre Royal (2019) (Vacilando ’68 Recordings)

5-10 years before Oasis enticed squillions of nearly adults to adopt daft floppy fringed haircuts, dress like wannabee football hooligans, tuck a Katie Price bedecked Loaded under their arms and drink 8 cans of Ace Lager on the train to Knebworth, there was an infinitely more worthy and definitely less ‘shouty’ lad culture going on.

The Medway scene, which started in the arse ache towns of Kent, rather than it’s gardens’, saw the likes of Billy Childish, The Dentists, The Claim, Thee Heasdcoats and The Prisoners add grunt and grumble to jangled guitar melodies whilst ensuring a prominent ‘essence of man’ aesthetic.

Image may contain: sunglassesFrom the same area and born from the typically Medway band, The Long Weekend, (well worth checking out, especially the 20 Minutes 13 Stops album) Theatre Royal‘s latest EP offers more of the brilliant same and a certain sense of extra maturity when compared to the majority of their Singles 2010-18 compilation.

Such maturation is seen in tracks such as the title track (see below) and Done is Done, which do there uppermost to dispel my previous machinations about the overt presence of testosterone, with fluttering tapped out drums, the brilliance of fluttering jangled riffs and plaintive lyrics.  Fragile, but still manly in their own way, these tracks are the sound of men without bravado / ego…the sort of men women started to admit preferring in the 2000’s.

The remaining two songs revert to a more familiar climate with both September Comes and Turn From Sleep (see below) being everything (and more) that Medway has to offer. All determined rhythms and intensities backed by an incessant jangle that drives the track to a conclusion long before the listener is really ready. Effectively it’s totally ‘Medway tight’.

This brilliant EP is a precursor to a 2020 album release and I cannot wait!

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