Another Surface Festival finalist of last year has recently been brought to my attention with an EP review request and after gaining so much attention and plenty of fans at the final, I couldn’t really refuse them. You see, with a multitude of nationalities in the band, The Onironauts simply claim to hail from the moon. As a result, there certainly is a strong spacey theme to their sound and image making their live performances something pretty special.
Funky Heavy Dance is not only the title of their latest EP but a perfect description of the genre they kind of fit into. However, the band do flit between genres even within tracks and it’s this eclectic mix that makes the EP such an interesting listen.
It begins with Orange, which is an awesome introduction to The Onironauts and their acclaimed oddity. With the only lyrics in the five minute track being “Coming from the moon, we are called The Onironauts”, that’s pretty much all you need to know. As well as the insanely catchy saxophone which repeatedly adds a classy twist to the sound and the funky bass backing up the electronic whizzs and squeaks that come with being a… well, moon band.
The band aren’t always whimsically crazy though and on second track Bad Bye, they slow down and revert to mellow indie. A haunting vocal is produced and the repetition of a chilled riff and steady drum run throughout the song until it evolves into a full-blown alternative rock instrumental and falls again towards the end. It’s definitely not short of drama and with plenty going on, it’s an intriguing track and a far cry from Orange.
The first time the band’s urban roots are shown is on Gypsy Soup, where they adopt a hip hop attitude merged with an indie grit. Saxophones and the constant wah-wah of the guitars add the multi-faceted motif to the track, set to a retro rhythm. It drifts into a more mellow section after the three minute mark and is the perfect example of all versions of The Onironauts on one track. Being able to switch so smoothly between theme is a true art that they seem to have honed.
Disco Juice is another slower track that I think has the potential to be an awesome live performance. The electro fuzz is present in the background of the once again, unearthly vocal. As I am now used to occuring on this EP, the song touches on alternative rock, hip hop and that obligatory jazz edge. Having merged four genres twice in two songs now, I’m beginning to realise that The Onironauts are a funny, laid-back and let’s face it, very clever.
Lastly there’s Purple, which has no lyrics at all, the EP culminates on a showcase of the band’s instruments working like crazy. A funky bass is back, a catchy riff that repeats several times over the four minutes gets into your head, a steady drum rolls underneath and we are gradually returned to Earth with a bump on the drum ending.
Funky Heavy Dance does indeed appear to take you on a journey outside of the home comforts of our planet. Listening to their wonderful amalgamation of genres, tones and textures, you can well believe that The Onironauts are a celestial force that have come to blow our minds with things we didn’t think were possible. Highly weird but so right.