The first thing that strikes you about the Savage Nomads, especially if you were the only one in class who listened in Modern Studies, is the name. There was an infamous street gang from the Bronx, with the same name, who I think might still be going. Just to let them know, just in case, eh...anyway. The Savage Nomads we’re discussing here are a very young group with a very mature and eclectic musical ear.
This eclecticism can be found on the first single, Magic Eye. All parts XTC, The Fall, Gang of Four, Orange Juice, Joseph K, Franz Ferdinand and Futureheads, mixed by Mike Crossey of Arctic Monkeys fame. I liked Subside The Shakes, it’s a bit more poppy and probably the most simple in terms of structure.
They remind me of interesting pop bands in the 80’s like Wire, Public Image and Big Audio Dynamite, who liked to experiment with different ideas meandering toward dance, dub and ambiance as well as great pop, evident on What The Angel Said, also a great single, all eighties, all over the place with clever drumming and fantastic guitar work. I also found the hook in Eternal Elizabeth impossible to get out of my head.
I do have a slight personal concern for Coloured Clutter. The songs can become too busy, blinding us with virtuosity and cleverness when the song just needs simplicity. As great as this album is, I fear The Savage Nomads, all still teenagers, will struggle to find their niche. They seem part prog, part punk, part ambient, part electronica, post punk, pop, dub and garage. Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be too clever.
On the fourth listen, it’s evident The Savage Nomads have delivered an intelligent, modern and contemporary urban sounding debut album, one that shows much imagination and once they find their musical voice, promise for the future.
Review by Charlie Brown