Diving headfirst into the vibrant blast of indie rock meets funk infusion, Speak Easy Circus’s latest offering ‘Gros Michel’ is nothing short of an unbridled jaunt through sonic adventure. The Glasgow-based quintet, with their quirkiness and talent for occupying a distinctive spot within the contemporary music scene, have outdone themselves in this latest release.
On the surface, ‘Gros Michel’ is a song about bananas. But just as this unconventional piece of fruit defies classification, so too does this effervescent single defy simplistic understanding. Within its groovy and infectious rhythm, ‘Gros Michel’ dares to peel back layers of exploitation in the banana industry, subtly inviting its listeners to examine their complicity.
Just as the title, derived from a variety of banana, blends the ordinary with the curiously unexpected, so does the musical arrangement. Jack Avison’s vocals are central to the track’s energy, his voice carrying an amalgamation of biting wit and a keen sense of observation. Frazer Laurie’s rock-infused drums serve as the beating heart of the groove, while Chatonda Ridley’s soulful bass lines provide a solid yet fluid foundation that runs through the piece like a swift-flowing river. Fenwick Lawson’s funk trombone and Jon Wallace’s jazz saxophone add an unexpected twist, their rich and playful tones weaving in and out, creating a soundscape that is as heady as it is insightful.
The band doesn’t shy away from employing dynamics and changes in rhythm to engage their listener, creating a rambunctious musical landscape teeming with unexpected turns and pleasant surprises. The instrumentation, coupled with vocals that oscillate between devilish charm and poignant questioning, makes for an almost cinematic experience, like a film noir set in a banana grove under a psychedelic sky.
The song is, at its heart, an exploration of seemingly harmless everyday choices. Its energy is infectious, its message potent. As the listener is drawn into a whirlwind of sound echoing with the flamboyance of indie rock and the energy of funk, they are also compelled to ponder their role in the narrative that the song weaves.
Speak Easy Circus have managed to architect a song that entertains but also challenges. They have taken societal concerns, dressed them up in a delightful romp of sonic elements, and served them in a way that you want to dance first and ponder later, but ponder nonetheless. It’s a nod to the possibility of music – how it can go beyond language and culture, and tap into the shared consciousness.
‘Gros Michel’ stands as a testament to Speak Easy Circus’s ability to genre-blend with finesse, and their boldness in using music not just as a medium for sonic enjoyment, but also storytelling and socio-cultural commenting. In a world where music is often a mirror of the times, Speak Easy Circus’s mirror is not one to shy away from uncomfortable truths, instead, they make it groovy enough to dance to. A phenomenal feat, indeed. As a listener, you leave with not just an aftertaste of an infectious rhythm, but food for introspection and a yearning for more of what Speak Easy Circus has to offer.