Dear listener, meet Houdini Dax, set to be your new musical buddy for the foreseeable. You may recognise their twangy guitar jib anywhere from a Huw Stephens’ Maida Vale session to a BT Sport ad, or perhaps while out shopping in Jack Wills. But fear not, for this is not a band whose songs are doomed to be filed into the jingle category – there is definitely a meaty centre in Cardiff’s ‘Fab Three’.
Think Mersey Beat as an aural reference, reminiscent of The Coral or The Zutons, laden with elements of Glam, Brit-Pop and a little bit Psyche at times. You can hear the hopeful expanse of the seafront, the twee organ-clink of the arcades and the grime of it all when finding love on the dole. And they’ve managed to integrate the line “You’re such an oxymoron” seamlessly into a song – fantastic choice of word!
Live, they are a treat. On the two occasions I’ve caught them, their guitar heavy sound has whipped the crowd into a twisty-bopping frenzy. Not to mention bass player and hair champion Owen Richards’ own divine moves (my dancer of the year Liverpool Sound City 2015). They are bright, engaging and completely together. Be prepared to be slapped by a wave of sumptuous harmonies, like rolling down from the stage like the Valleys from whence they hail.
The boys have just dropped their debut Naughty Nation. For me, it’s ten tracks of youthful musical joy. From the ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’-esque opening of ‘Apple Tree’, you flirt, dance, scrape your knees, get in scuffles, sign on, and generally follow them on their Cardiff capers. An album with plenty of lyrical shade in the musical light, they prove themselves to be working class wordsmiths worthy of comparisons to early Arctic Monkeys. My favourite is ‘Legs’ – witty, sexy and stompy.
Houdini Dax are off to a flying start. To not ‘Get Your Goo On’ with them would be a travesty. Find out more here.