New Zealand born duo Krispy & The Pooch have at last emerged from the grey and icy winter to warm our bodies with their energetic and expansive EP, Something Strange for Change. A blend of soothing neo-soul grooves, bone-rattling gutter funk and ear-worming electro, their new release is simultaneously a reflection of the boys' varied musical influences and a distinctly modern sound inspired by the hypnotic dance music of their new home in Berlin.
Kriston Batistic (aka Krispy) and Simon Townsend (aka The Pooch) met in the squalor of a decaying student house in a wealthy suburb in Auckland five years ago. To fend off the rats, the boys were forced to come together to produce wall-shaking old-school hip-hop. Having garnered radio play across New Zealand, the project came to an end when Krispy moved abroad to further himself as a musician in the renowned scene of Berlin. Like a real good boy, The Pooch was soon to follow.
In the short time that they've been reunited, the boys have already created their debut three-track release as Krispy & The Pooch. Something Strange for Change flows out in all directions yet still remains harmonious; the songs are underpinned by a lyrical exploration that effortlessly slips between tongue-in-cheek playfulness and honest tenderness. In Krispy, the lyricist and vocalist, every track is a showcase of his impressive vocal range - in yo-yoing from humble and soulful crooning in Better to a rasping rhythmic bravado spat out in Where's My Phone?.
With The Pooch's inhuman ear for production, each track has been elevated to that special realm where they can be enjoyed in a packed-out sweaty pit or in bed with headphones on, the songs imbued with digital sonics that are both invigorating and mesmerising. This isn't to suggest, however, that there are defined roles within the band, as both are involved with the song-writing and production process at every stage. Owning a total command of genre and style, they have sculpted the tracks in to a sensory feast that only become richer and more bombastic as they unfold.
Something Strange for Change opens with Where's My Phone? and a kick in the face; a dirty guitar riff that calls to mind the stank of early Red Hot Chilli Peppers. A stripped back, funk-infused number, Krispy delivers a humorous story about relationship distrust in the modern day. Second is Better, a bouncy, groovy neo-soul tune that is accentuated by soothing saxophone, aural distortions and snappy percussion. An honest declaration of transcendence over mental illness, the track is as life-affirming as it is downright infectious. The EP is rounded off by The Market, a progressive electronic number with a pulsing bass-line and heightened by a rush of tones and effects that culminate in perhaps the most experimental and catchy of the tracks. Lyrically sparse, the song caps off Something Strange for Change with an explosion of energy.
The story of Krispy & The Pooch is just getting started. Having crafted the EP over two months in a home studio and enlisting the help of some of Berlin's most talented upcoming funk, jazz and soul instrumentalists, the duo have created something that sounds rooted in tradition yet completely fresh. This synergistic collaboration has cultivated in an EP as colourful and towering as the graffiti-scrawled concrete buildings that define the city they inhabit. Despite living on the other side of the world, the boys are still firmly attached to their roots, and whether their sound is pulsing within the walls of the red-brick apartment blocks of Berlin or in the vermin-infested hovels of Auckland, Krispy & The Pooch are here to dish out their sexy, dirty sound to all the boys, girls and rats of the World.