Anyone for a lesson in exciting your fan base? Enter Dikembe, and their reissue of début EP ‘Chicago Bowls’, an exercise in drumming up attention ahead of their new release, scheduled for late this year.
‘Scottie Spliffen’ opens the EP slowly, before developing into what could have been a catchy emo track, vocalist Steven Gray taking the reins for a chorus that should emerge into something more, before finishing abruptly.
‘Luc Bongley’ continues in the same vein, though with more pace but before enough time has passed to digest the cyclic riffs and vocals that just about cut through the mix, it’s already song three of four, ‘Michael Jordank’, quirky, offbeat and surprisingly interesting.
‘Tony Kukush’ is over in a swirling heartbeat, ending the EP at under ten minutes in length, and all too soon. What ‘Chicago Bowls’ is, is a good two-track single release.
The biggest bug-bear with this reissue is the fact that there are no marked improvements on the sound, the tracks sound overly compressed, the guitars especially coming across as too crisp. Of course, there would be scope to comment on the songwriting, on the lyrics of ‘Chicago Bowls’, but it’s actually hard to hear them.
Not that this can be used against them. A poor demo does not make a poor band, though a reissue this seemingly superficial does seem a bit strange.
The four tracks present serve the purpose of the EP well, giving fans a taste of what the band are capable of, which is writing catchy emo-influenced punk rock. It just begs the question of why. A band with the approach and ethic of Dikembe, how can they benefit from the remastering of a simple four-track EP?
Admittedly, it was their début, and something that fans will certainly enjoy and ‘Chicago Bowls’ will rekindle some interest ahead of their autumn release, reminding fans why they love this band, and keep eyes firmly on the future for Dikembe.
One for fans, but one that will completely pass others by.
Reviewer: Dave Straw