Single Review: Okay Champ – 'The Party’s Over (Goodbye Yellow Brick Road)'

Newcastle's Okay Champ have treated us to their debut single, which is the form of the fiercely gloomy 'The Party’s Over (Goodbye Yellow Brick Road)'.

Opening with a backwards and edgy guitar riff combined with obscure lyrics (‘I used to have a spine but I shrunk it in the wash’), ‘The Party’s Over’ sparks interest immediately for any music fan. The lyrics all follow this quirky nature that harken back to Kurt Cobain’s contradictory and juxtaposing lyrics of Nirvana. They carry a sense of doom and paranoia that is reflected in the vocals. John Edgar sings with a punk-esque delinquency as he drones through the song like the lovechild of J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. and Jim Reid of The Jesus and Mary Chain. Edgar sounds fed up with what he is surrounded by daily (‘I used to have a car but I drove it in the sea’) and wants to get away from it all. He even hates music (’I used to like bands but now I like quiet’). However, the music contrasts this sense of futility with walls of fuzz that produce an angry backdrop. Despite the slow tempo, the band are full of energy – an energy that stems from frustration. It’s the post punk sound of Fat White Family’s ‘Champagne Holocaust’ album meets the noisy fuzz of 80s/90s American alternative bands such as Sonic Youth.

Following the opening riff and verses, Dave Turnball launches into a scuzzy string bending guitar solo over a foundation of sludgy and grungy chords. Despite the lack of a chorus, the vocal hook of the verses, the lyrical style and dynamics of the instrumentation keep the listeners keen and definitely warrant repeated listens. Okay Champ are frustrated at the world around them and are sticking two fingers up at the world – ‘I used to live with people, but now I live with dicks’. It’s fantastic.

Words by Matthew Brocklehurst