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The Rhythm Method were recently described by The Guardian as 'a Balearic vision of romance as imagined from a parochial nightclub dancefloor'. Formed half a decade ago in a Thameside squat protection scheme intended for professionals but inhabited by the barely-employed, the duo of lyricist/vocalist Joey Bradbury and top-liner/singer-songwriter Rowan Martin turned a summer of FIFA tournaments, cosmic breakdowns and 4pm beers into a series of bizarre, outsider-music iPhone demos that became a Soundcloud, then a band, then a live show and now an album.
"How Would You Know I Was Lonely?" is a journey through the present - a descent into late 20's, late-capitalist mind-funk; 12 stories of near-romances, yellow label dinners, chemical catatonia and lack-of-identity politics. Its influences are strange and diverse, not always entirely credible or tangible; Scritti Politti, Aswad, Irish Pub karaoke, ITV4, YouTube freestyles, Celtic standards, Golborne Road radios and more than a dose of Rod Stewart.
Pocket symphonies such as "Sex and The Suburbs", "Local, Girl" and "Cruel" sound like the Saturday night playlist from a Quantum Leap FM Radio station – ostensibly pop songs, but ones in possession of a rare intelligence, frankness and deep weirdness. The references may be initially esoteric, but the themes are palpably universal. Opener "Salad Cream", referring to a mid 90’s Heinz campaign, is about creating social demand for yourself via scarcity. "Cruel" is pub-karaoke paean to the spectre of addiction. "Single Life" explores the dark, bleak desperation of romantic dejection, set to sleazy noir funk and muted trumpets. Joey Bradbury's verses could be a man on the verge of a nervous breakdown recording the voice notes of his crack-up, whilst Rowan Martin's choruses ask questions you never thought you'd hear in such hummable form.
Fans and supporters have ranged from spiritual forbearers such Mike Skinner (who produced "Cruel", which also features London electronic pop artist Zoee), Squeeze frontman Chris Difford (who lends a knowing baritone to the chorus of Zone 2 opus "Wandsworth Plain"), Elton John and Suggs; contemporaries including The 1975’s Matty Healy (who is responsible for half of the band’s YouTube views), Wolf Alice and Shame; actress and poet Michaela Coel and Denise Welch; highlighting the varied magnetism of the lyrical insight, classic songcraft and inquisitive spirit at the heart of these off-kilter pop tunes.
Matt says: Not my usual cup of tea, quirky indie, but the lol'ing genius of some of these lyrics combined with the tongue-in-cheek approach throughout has won me over. Comedy genius + catchy tunes = massive hit for boring afternoons!
A1. Salad Cream
A2. Ode 2 Joey
A4. Something For The Weekend
A4. Single Life
A5. Magic Hour
B1. Local, Girl
B2. Continental Breakfast
B4. Cruel Ft. Zoee
B5. Sex And The Suburbs
B6. Wandsworth Plain Ft. Chris Difford