Sashi and the Wild Beans — True to Yourself EP
Review by Simon Cooper
Sashi and the Wild Beans first got together to play a single show back in 2010. They have been plugging away on the gigging circuit ever since and, following a successful festival season, have released their first EP, True to Yourself.
The record effortlessly transports you back to a sun-soaked festival field as it clicks to the swagger of swing, soul and ska.
What’s instantly striking about the five-track debut from the Brixton-based ten piece is that it is impossible not to bob some part of your body along to it. The songs feel like they were created crashing out of a live sound system rather than a studio mixing desk. Anyone turned on enough by music will experience the five tracks as if they were a perfectly executed live set.
The song Little Man demonstrates this superbly. It dresses snarling lyrics with instrumental virtuosity, and is topped off with a rock opera-like guitar solo which lends a particularly impromptu feel.
The record has a certain theatrical feel to it too. The track Topsy Turvy, for example, features a mournful piano part that wouldn’t sound out of place under the spotlight of a self-reflective West End musical.
True to Yourself comes across as a truly accomplished piece of tuneful defiance. Sashi buzzes with attitude throughout, with lines like: “Nothing’s gonna get in my way today.”
If there’s one sound which stands out above the many others, it’s the band’s brass section. Throughout the recording, the horns accompany the melodies with the tightness of an military marching band and the pizazz of a Proms showpiece.
It’s clear that the likes of Amy Winehouse and Adele’s soulful vocals and big band dancefloor step have helped pave the way for acts like Sashi and the Wild Beans. But despite these comparisons, rather than ripping off their influences, the band have wholeheartedly done what their EP title suggests: stayed true to themselves.