The Brooklyn-based group blends the best of traditional West-African music, math rock, and more on a strong introductory statement.
Projects in the modern music landscape continue to defy genre, to take traditional constructs and pull them apart, put them together, and bend them to whatever creative whims the artist may wish to fulfill. These genre-crossers are increasingly intricate, stemming from simplicities like the pop/hip-hop or rap/country fusions and branching out into even more diverse fields, but Brooklyn-based group The Narcotix may be one of the most complex but compelling combinations yet.
Boasting a meld of math rock, psychedelic, and traditional West-African instrumentals, the group makes their official debut with the single “John/Joseph,” a sharp and sophisticated blend of the best of these influences. Founding members Esther Quansah and Becky Foinchas have employed their expansive musical palette to craft an eclectic and ear-catching piece of music, impossible to ignore with all of its eccentricities and commanding musical moments.
“John/Joseph” is anchored by a sleek muted guitar lick, introducing the track before the syncopated percussion patterns kick in. It’s all of the staples of an early/mid-2000s simmered alt rock piece, a contemporary American Football or Young the Giant, until the dynamic vocals kick in. Cool and composed in the beginning and building to a wail following the first chorus, the vocal performance changes on a dime. It’s unpredictable and enticing, listening to the performance shift from a heavenly chorus to something akin to spoken word at will.
The single acts as a lead-up to the debut EP from The Narcotix, Mommy Issues. The project will take on a similar style to the single, combining the West-African roots of Quansah and Foinchas with the avant-garde instrumentals of Adam Turay, Jonathan Joseph, and Jesse Healy. With mothers hailing from Cote D’Ivoire and Cameroon, respectively, Quansah and Foinchas derive their lyrical delivery and rhythmic structures from their heritage, but the EP will add a modern twist with sounds inspired by trap, R&B, progressive rock, and more.
It’s a combination that, on paper, shouldn’t work — but, in practice, absolutely does. Smooth and stylish, understated instrumentally and overtly expressive in the vocal performance, and undeniably compelling, “John/Joseph” is a stunning opening statement from a group with a host of musical tools at their disposal.
Check out “John/Joseph” below and catch Mommy Issues June 11th!