This is a review of "Tax Man, Funny Man" recorded by Instant Species. The review was written by Dave Sugden in 2007.
It's been several years since I last reviewed Instant Species and one of my first direct encounters with the band was when I promoted the band at a Blue Star Music event at Joseph's Well. A captivating live band, I guarantee you'll find it hard to take your focus away from the band's frontman, Richard Garnett, as the band select from a back catalogue so large it competes only with that of peers The Scaramanga Six.
There's a productivity overload bug in Huddersfield, I guess.
Since then, Richard has joined the LMS ranks and developed into one of the region's well-known music journalists, having contributed over 300 articles to this site alone. So with the view that one shouldn't review a colleague's band, I've since backed away from writing about Instant Species.
But when you find the band's latest EP sat on the shelves, and not a word spoken (positive or negative), you occasionally have to break your own rules.
So what about the band's new EP? By new, I mean a couple of months old now.
The EP displays all the traits I love about Instant Species, primarily the huge variance in styles the band deliver with what you might consider a standard line up instrument wise... guitars, bass, drums, and vocals, added to by keys and saxophone, introduced perfectly in a minimalistic way that adds exactly what is needed yet is not at all overpowering ... just a little bit of what you like.
The title track is the slow-paced, nicely balanced two tone 'Tax Man, Funny Man'. The next track sees the band move towards upbeat guitar pop (indie, you might say)... “I got a label on me / I got a label on me” repeats the chorus. If it wasn't for Rick's unique vocals, you might compare the opening 20 seconds of 'Small Talk' to Fratellis, et al. It's not a lasting comparison though. The fourth song on the EP is the last of a trio of session tracks and another spiky number with a simple melody and lead guitar line driving through. It lasts just over a minute. That's not unusual for Instant Species. The EP finishes with a couple of acoustic numbers, including the re-worked 'Plan E'.
There you go, six songs, a mix of styles to show off the band's range in talents.
Take a chance, and have a listen. You might just enjoy them.