Listening to this debut affair by Dicky Continental, I thought the nearest comparison I can make is the trip-hop sounds of Massive Attack, with the excited bursts taken from a Blaxploitation movie as the album progresses. This could be a sleazy soundtrack made for lovers in the first throes of passion and when vocalist Jo Simms offers her vocal temptation on the first track ‘Make Them Disappear’, an 18 certificate is not going to be enough. Dicky Continental, is the num-de-plume for Red Snapper co-founder and drummer Rich Thair. Snapper are an English instrumental band, founded in London in the early ’90s. Their latest album released in 2022, Everybody Is Somebody, saw the act call on the vocal flavours of North West London vocalist Natty Wylah. This was the first time the collective had seen fit to introduce vocals to their sound and it would seem with Rich doing so on his debut album, this collaboration worked.
An 11-track debut from Thair seems to have flavours of David Holmes and furthermore Unkle, home of Mo’Wax founder James Lavelle, among other beat-driven artists. This is one hot ticket. As the album progresses, this ambience can be heard on the following tracks ’Simon Says’ and ‘Honeysuckle’, which with its Kitchenalia sounds and brief snatches of nature as it begins, might leave you asking whether Gordon Ramsey is going to make an appearance. Thankfully, he doesn’t. Simms makes her second appearance on ’Split’, as she can be heard asking “…Why don’t you spare me…”, as the clockwork rhythm of Thair is played underneath. Have you ever encountered the electronic interference of shortwave radio? As you desperately try to tune into those voices hidden beneath the chatter of analogue static. Well, this appears to be what is being utilised on ‘Evolution 2’, as a loop of keyboard is played over the top. Then the number ‘Chicco Forres’ is bought in, its solid drum is what appears to be its mainstay, with those bursts from a Blaxploitation movie, the sounds that interrupt proceedings.
This act’s founder, is one natty rhythmist, as the number ‘Broken Piano’ does just that, illustrating said piano, in sound. Thair’s beaten drum plays childlike around these sounds before the number ‘Mavron’ comes into view. This, with its picked violin strings, bring to mind Channel 4’s 1993 production of The Camomile Lawn, a production taken from Mary Wesley’s book of the same name. This used Ravel’s String Quartet in F Major to great effect and this appears to be the same here. So it’s clear this artist’s knowledge stretches as far as the classical and when coupled with those broken beats, brings this format right up to date and leaves the listener salivating for more. What’s so incredible about this set of tunes is that none adhere to a set pattern, with each providing a new and wonderful palette of timing and sounds. The penultimate track ‘The Graveyard Of Ambition’, conjures images of Francis Ford Coppola’s Rumble Fish. The ragged nature of the artist playing what I hear as milk bottles are infectious, the familiar beats their support. While during the track, an American voice can be heard saying “I love how it feels, over the 44”, a statement perhaps making reference to the feeling of love. However you choose to look at this, the sounds I’m hearing still lead me toward Rumble Fish, I’m sure you will draw your own comparisons. The number Hammersmith concludes this journey into the sounds of Dicky Continental, the album doing its best, one might say, to surpass the sounds he makes with Red Snapper, whilst others would state that these are those sounds dressed in a new suit. However you chose to hear them, this is one damn fine suit.
The album is available to purchase on Bandcamp.