Some bands defy easy classification, eschewing genre stereotypes in order to dig deep into what their music is about and what they stand for. Galli is such an outfit. Hailing from Norwich, the four-piece gained plaudits earlier this year off the back of their debut single ‘Sabika,’ with airplay and support from 6Music and BBC Introducing helping to significantly boost their profile. They were also handpicked by UK jazz pioneers Mammal Hands as a support act for their recent hometown show.
Following on from this early run of successes comes their enigmatic debut EP, In The Roundhouse There’s Hornets, released on Drongo Records. It’s an enthralling blend of alternative rock, soul and jazz, though by no means easy to pin down in sound. It takes on many shifting forms and tempos, constantly twisting in your ear so you’re never quite settled as to where the each song will take you next.
It’s a thrilling adventure that the band embark on from the start, with aforementioned single ‘Sabika‘ leading us in. Drummer Alex Elliot creates an otherworldly atmosphere from the outset, akin to Radiohead’s ‘There There.’ Subtle instrumental texturing weaves in and out of the track, with lead singer Georgia King finding space at its centre for her strong vocals to drive the song forwards. She has a fantastic vocal range, again rooted in jazz, but with many thrilling dimensions – she snarls her way through some sections like Amy Winehouse at her finest, at other times opening up and taking on an ethereal Kate Bush-esque quality.
Second track ‘Whittle Away‘ starts with a similar dreamy vibe, until a mid-way break shifts the tempo in a whole new direction. It’s this free-flowing element that gives their material its strongest quality, their strong musicianship keeping the music grounded whilst constantly keeping your ear engaged with new directions and atmospheres.
Third track ‘Chrysalis‘ leads in with a confident guitar line, before each band member finds a steady groove to elaborate outwards from, Ash Woolnough’s bass in particular adding real depth and connection with the drum line. It never quite builds to the dramatic conclusion you might anticipate, instead weaving its way interestingly through several different avenues, intermittently broken up by dramatic crescendos.
‘All I Need‘ rounds off the EP, again never settling on a fixed melody. Its form constantly shifts over a six minute plus runtime into a number of free-flowing instrumental breakdowns. It sums up the vibe of the EP as a whole, brimming over with talent and ideas, but always focused and concise in its direction.
Galli gain their place alongside some of the most exciting acts in the UK, including Manchester’s Plume and Leeds’ Sifaka, blending together all manner of alternative genres, fused together by signature jazz undertones. It’s a creatively confident, thrilling debut, impossible to pigeonhole, and all the stronger for it. We’ll be sure to have them on frequent rotation, waiting with eager ears to hear where they take us next on their journey.
Galli’s new EP, In The Roundhouse There’s Hornets is out now on Drongo Records – limited edition CDs are available to purchase here.