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Hey Negrita - Abandon Ship

  by John Clarkson

published: 6 / 7 / 2006

Hey Negrita - Abandon Ship
Label: Select Label
Format: CDS


Impressive latest EP from London-based Americana/blues outfit Hey Negrita , which is drawn from their just released second album 'The Buzz Above'

The London-based Americana/blues outfit Hey Negrita create three act dramas with their EPs. Their last EP, ‘Lust and Bones’, the first to promote their just released second album ‘The Buzz Above’, began on its title track on a note of optimism with the reconciliation between singer Felix Bechtolsheimer and a former lover. It soon, however, shifted mood and focus to uncertainty on its middle number ‘Can’t Walk Away’ as the old problems that had initially forced the couple apart began to unfold again, and then to crashing despair on its third and final song ‘Losing You’ as meltdown and inevitable break-up took place all over again. ‘Abandon Ship’, the band’s second EP from ‘The Buzz Above’, which features three of the songs on that album, which appear in a different running order on the LP, is also narrative in its structure, but this time starts with heartache and then finishes more hopefully. “Cut me loose/Abandon the ship/Just sell me out for the things you did” rasps Bechtolsheimer, strumming an acoustic guitar at the start of the title track, and with weary angst as he realizes that he and a lover are better off apart. Pianist Hugo Heimann’s surging keyboards and drummer Neil Findlay’s slow, pounding drums kick in, providing a crescendo to Bechtolsheimer’s anguish. “I bleed for you/I swim through the rough/You can cover the rips/But it is never enough” he howls at its conclusion as the relationship snaps apart. ‘Penny Drops’, the middle song, is even bleaker still telling of the relationship’s aftermath, and finds Bechtolsheimer, not knowing which way to turn now, feeling both lost and empty. Softer in tone than ‘Abandon Ship’, tingling, lightly bubbling keyboards from Heimann merge with shimmers of acoustic guitar and brushes of percussion. “I’m not the man I used to be” croons Bechtolsheimer poignantly at the song’s close. “Tell me who I am. Tell me who I am.” By the time of the third song ‘Nine to Five’, Bechtolsheimer is over his heartbreak, and back out dating. Inspired by a date from hell with a high powered estate agent with whom Bectolsheimer quickly discovered that he had totally nothing in common , it is a part tongue-in –cheek, rollicking country number with a pumping organ and a squawking saxophone. “I do nothing nine to five” sings Bechtolsheimer with gleeful irony when the estate agent looks patronisingly at him at the end of a day he has spent working in the recording studio and rudely asks him, as a full-time musician, what he does all day. “And I am glad to be alive/You’re the only thing that brings me down.” Once again Felix Bechtolsheimer ends up as on ‘Can’t Walk Away’ alone, but, while ‘Can’t Walk Away’ concluded darkly, ‘Abandon Ship’ in contrast finishes with humour and an air of, if not full blown hope, at least tentative optimism that there is a happier romance ahead for him somewhere, and, that, even if not, that he still at least has his music to hang onto. Melodic and passionately performed, ‘Abandon Ship’ builds on that last EP and ‘The Buzz Above’ as well and comes up with something that is totally different from both of them.

Track Listing:-
1 Abandon Ship
2 Penny Drops
3 Nine To Five
4 Abandon Ship (video)

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Interview (2008)
Hey Negrita - Interview
At a show in Glasgow, John Clarkson speaks to acclaimed country/blues outfit Hey Negrita about their third album 'You Can Kick', line-up changes and renewed sense of energy and creativity
Interview (2006)
Interview (2005)

live reviews

Oran Mor, Glasgow, 17/6/2008
Hey Negrita - Oran Mor, Glasgow, 17/6/2008
After a difficult year in which two of its principal members quit, John Clarkson at Oran Mor in Glasgow watches the new line-up of previously melancholic London-based blues/country rockers Hey Negrita play a blistering set fused with a new found spirit of optimism
Academy, Manchester, 28/10/2006


Burn the Whole Place Down (2009)
Energetic and fresh-sounding acoustic reworkings of old material on latest album from London-based country/blues outfit, Hey Negrita
You Can Kick (2008)
Rope (2008)
Nine To Five (2006)
The Buzz Above (2006)
Can't Walk Away (2006)
Old Britannia (2005)
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