REVIEW: The Meow Meows – Friends On Benefits

By Liam Monaghan

As UK Reggae/Ska music is thriving and I couldn’t be a bigger supporter of that, We move down south to Brighton to The nine-piece Meow Meows. Having turned to UK reggae legend Prince Fatty to produce their previous album ‘Somehow We Met’, The Meow Meows have again teamed up with the prestigious producer for their forthcoming EP ‘Friends on Benefits’ released via Jump Up! Records. Their reputation on the live circuit has built steadily, and recent years have seen the band appear on bills with reggae starlet Hollie Cook and David Rodigan favourites The Skints, as well as Ska legends The Skatalites that is a huge accolade in itself.

Fatty is well-known as an eminent producer, having worked with artists such as Lily Allen, Graham Coxon of Blur, and Gregory Isaacs.‘Friends on Benefits’ will be released via Jump Up! Records – available internationally as a limited edition 7ʺ vinyl and digital download from 13th July.

The EP emerged as part of a commission by Fuel Theatre for their ‘Music to Move to’ project – which saw ten musical acts team up with choreographers to create works that would inspire the general public to dance. The title track was the band’s emphatic response.

Born from the ashes of several bands from the south-coast ska-punk scene, the collective began playing live festivals and shows together in 2005. Their reputation on the circuit has built steadily, and recent years have seen the band appear on bills with reggae starlet Hollie Cook and David Rodigan favourites The Skints, as well as ska legends The Skatalites.

The Meow Meows reputation as a live entity is easy to picture down to the vibrant and upbeat music they produce. All three tracks on ‘Friends on Benefits’ are ‘danceable cuts’ showcase a style that has clearly been refined through years of moving feet in Brighton basements.

Known for their light-hearted lyrics about drinking and relationships, the group began to address political topics on ‘Somehow We Met’, a theme that is extended in ‘Friends on Benefits’ – as ever in their typically tongue-in-cheek style. The vocalists describe their aim as to address all that is ‘wonderful and disastrous about the world’ and share ‘a passion to discuss it in a way that is idiotic and joyful’. With their humour, catchy horn arrangements, and irresistible beats, The Meow Meows are sure to appeal across the board with ‘Friends on Benefits’.

Meow MeowsFriends On Benefits
High energy, fast pace, fancy jumping up and down continuously? This is the song for you. Raging horn lines ring out and abrupt guitar strokes echo that classic Ska sound! The lyrics are humorous but you have to listen closely as the delivery is quick! A really upbeat and positive record!

London Road
Don’t stop for a breath, London Road is as hectic as you’d imagine on an actual London street. An upbeat knee up Ska is back in play. The energy rings through with this band, drum arrangements and horn lines keep the record fresh. Vocals are delivered in a mundane fashion but suit the record and help set the mood. This sound reminds me of old school Ska looking at the Beat, Madness and many others!

Tits & Hatred
Interesting name for a record… but no letting up, the same as the previous two songs, very vibrant, lots of energy, big horn lines echo through the air with the Reel Big Fish Ska strokes play throughout. Would be interesting to see what else could be done in terms of using the sound but mixing up some of the sounds, not all the songs blend into each other, but something to set apart each record would be a bonus, however the music is fun, vibrant, UK sounding, high energy and is up there with the quality of music that’s coming out of the UK reggae scene.