To those who might be unfamiliar with the Wanton Bishops, they are first of all, a Lebanese band right from the heart of Beirut. I’ve been a great fan of them, since the earlier days of the band, when they started out playing in small pubs throughout the city, with their identity and journey yet to unfold and for us to witness how two guys from Beirut, made it big.
The first album, ‘Sleep with the Lights On’, was a huge success, and cultivated massive support and amazing reviews from throughout the world. This album was their stepping stone onto the stage of the world. Nader with his surreal harmonica skills, and quite orgasmic and bluesy vocals and growls, and Eddy with the sweet licks and solos on the guitar, made them a mix to be matched by anyone.
However, with the new EP that was released months ago, things sounded different from what originally was the sound of the band (not on all the tracks though). They evolved into using more electronic stuff, along with the integration of the ‘Tarab’ music, which is no mystery to the band. Personally, I believe this experimentation was due to many reasons, but mostly the elements of electronics were introduced by a third member of the band, who is Salim Naffah. Salim is familiar with the sound, being part of a pop group called Loopstache, and the electronics seemed to work just ‘fine’ in my opinion. The integration of the ‘Tarab’ sound was mostly related to the fact that the band was searching within, and trying to have a taste of the sound that they came from. This was influenced by the trip they had to the United States, where they visited the major ‘Blues States’ one might say, such as Mississippi and so on. This can be found in a full feature documentary they had with Red Bull called ‘Walk it Home‘.
In the tracks called Waslaha and Hitman, the new elements integrated in the sound can be felt, and they work like a charm actually. I don’t mind that they tried experimenting. From the first album they released, one can tell that they have absolutely mastered the realm of Blues, so there’s nothing wrong by trying new sounds.
The other tracks on the EP sound as raunchy and as perfect as they can be, reminding us of the original sound of the band, and even highlighting the fact that the Bishops are just starting out. A mixture of bluesy rock and roll, that’s hard to mess with, and hard to dismiss, as the sound of the Bishops really hooks you in, and keeps you at bay.
It’s hard for me to rate the EP, as I had mixed feelings about this. Yes, the integration process felt great and unforced. But I truly missed that raw harsh sound of the earlier songs from the band. This is however normal. Every band needs to grow and evolve, and to try different elements to get the sound that best suits them.
If you’re interested in the following EP, purchase it through the following places:
Beware before indulging the Wanton Bishops, as they make kick ass, no apologies whatsoever music. So tread lightly, and enjoy.