While Wolf Alice are away, Coach Party will play. Signed to the illustrious Chess Club – where the former also started their career – and displaying a certain enthusiasm for a glitter-speckled rock-pop breakdown, the comparisons between the Isle Of Wight four-piece and their London forebearers has been something of an inevitability, even encouraged by the band themselves.
While the sonic similarities between the two groups are keenly apparent, there’s a lightness and playfulness to Coach Party that feels more inherently their own. Drawn together after one too many chance meetings in the same small gig venues and rehearsal spaces on their native isle, their union channels the escapist energy of their residence, using their relative isolation to nail their sound down early doors. Every small-town upbringing has its perks, and theirs is incubation – an audible perk to life outside of the industry bubble.
As a result, ‘Party Food’ offers a great introductory buffet of ideas, a debut EP that demonstrates suitable ambition. ‘Bleach’s sing-song, Big-Moon-style melody will resonate with anyone who knows the frustrations of growing up in a small town, or indeed anyone whose lockdown home seems to be growing smaller by the day. “I think about dying/ By myself/ I’m not suicidal/Just a little underwhelmed” deadpans singer Jess, detailing her desire to sack off her day job (at a farm park, if you’re asking) to drive into the sun.
Life might not quite be exactly where she’d like it to be, but next to the cherry-bomb, battle-of-the-bands energy of ‘Oh Lola’, it’s a one-two of tracks that highlights the best of the bands melodic deftness, knowing exactly where to balance a heavier lyric against a dose of ‘60s surf or ‘90s riot grrrl. They may cite the grunge influences of Nirvana and Sonic Youth, but there’s a solid pop sensibility throughout, suggesting promising things for their crossover appeal.
The following tracks aren’t bad cop either – ’Space’ explores the butting of heads in a splintering relationship with fun animalistic metaphor. ‘Puke’ provides the comedic intel on said idiot partner, while ‘Breakdown’ spirals into a track that’d fit nicely on The Maccabees debut, ‘Colour It In’.
It’s a hard task to keep that level of buoyant momentum up, and their closing stab at slower tempo, ‘Red Jumper Boy’, is the first to gently fumble the bag. Strongly signalling its status as the EP’s closer, the meandering melody sweeps the floors of the disco while the people are still dancing, and by the time it finally reaches it’s revved up crescendo, the house lights have been beaming down for some time. It’s a shame, but it’s clear that their time is far from up.
2020 might not quite be the breakout festival year they were hoping for, but ‘Party Food’ more than sets the direction for Coach Party’s eventual ferry crossing to the mainland.
- Release date: June 10
- Record label: Chess Club