EP REVIEW: Pyncher – ‘Chew’

Fresh from a triumphant London performance and about to embark on their first major headline UK tour, Pyncher have now released their debut EP after having been earmarked as one of the upcoming bands to watch most closely by the likes of NME. Chew is a perfect calling card for Pyncher, both in terms of sound and, in a way, of philosophy: short and straight to the point, the four-track EP clearly marks the Manchester outfit’s place in the music scene with a boldness and clarity that make it impossible to ignore. Having heard those songs live and with the awareness of what an important part the performance element plays in their delivery, it is even more impressive how well they translate to the studio, evading the trap high-energy bands often fall into, of becoming over-reliant on the interaction with the audience. Part of the credit goes to a clever and well-polished production, which helps deliver a sound that is on-point, crisp and direct, without ever becoming excessively intrusive. But a major part also lies with the intelligence of the songwriting, which is precise without sacrificing the ultimate simplicity of structure which makes the tracks instantly impactful.

Pyncher most certainly know what they want to sound like, and they have a cleverness all their own in smoothly juxtaposing sound elements that call back to different past glories of rock music without losing their own individual voice. The rhythm section makes a hugely important contribution to the personality of the whole record: there is not a single track in which at some point a highly charismatic bass line dominates and dictates the pace of everything else, and this has to be some of the finest drumming I have recently heard in garage-rock adjacent music. The vocals have something of the early Libertines, as well as a nod to a classic grunge delivery that goes perfectly well with the heavy bass; the guitars show a deeply satisfying breadth of range, flirting occasionally with a type of distortion otherwise heard in the work of bands like (among others,) Fling, but also showing itself capable of delivering smooth bluesy riffs and scratchy punk bridges.

Of the four tracks, opener ‘Frogs and Tomatoes is the one that leans most heavily into the suggestions of psychedelic rock that surface also elsewhere in the record, in what is almost an occasional flashback into a sound that would belong fairly smoothly in the late ’60s. The EP namesake ‘Chew,’ on the other hand, owes the most to the band’s grunge and garage rock forebears, and is Pyncher at their most aggressive, a biting, steady-paced, guitar-dominated four minutes of noise. Single ‘Dirty Feet is my stand-out track of the record, a song that has all it takes to be a radio favourite: immediately recognisable, broad riffs, charismatic vocals, and the best instance of the way the bass packs enough personality to give a whole new nuance to the entire song. Closing track ‘Slow Down does deliver a slightly slower pace than the other three, which works well in winding the listening down – but at the same time ends in an outro that is somewhat suspended, reading almost like a final question mark.

It is tempting to see the choice of ending the record on this track as a declaration of intents: if you’ve seen them live, then it becomes abundantly clear that Pyncher have no intention whatsoever of slowing down in the future. It’s going to be an exciting ride, and Chew makes it very clear that it’s worth going along.

Chew is out now – available to Stream/Purchase here.

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Chiara Strazzulla
Chiara was born in Sicily and lives in Cardiff, where she is a freelance journalist and teacher of Classics. She is an internationally published novelist and has collaborated with a variety of publications both in English and Italian. She has been a music lover her whole life, and her taste in music ranges from glam rock to punk by way of blues and country.

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