Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Cafe Fistfight — Mourning Brew
((Not on label) no#, 2022, DL)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2022-09-07
Having been part of the Auckland, New Zealand music scene for a good many years, the four members of the newly christened Cafe Fistfight released their first single “Service with a Smile” in 2020. Two more singles were released in 2021 (“King Hit Quiche” followed by “Pocket Change”) and they were ready to start work on their debut EP, Mourning Brew, in 2022. The band features acoustic guitarist and singer Chris Moutter, who is also responsible for the lyrics and compositions, with drummer Daniel Barker, lead guitarist Josh Barker (who also handles ambient sound design and mixing), and bass guitarist Jesse Hudson, who also does mixing, mastering, and production. “Take Two” opens the set with some acoustic guitar forward of some ambient soundscape until Moutter comes in with the lyrics, then the bass and drums follow, the lead guitar hovering mainly in the song’s background, until it all erupts into edgy rock mid-song. “Feel a Little” takes a similar trajectory, operating with some different song ideas and utilizing more background vocals. So far they seem to be modeled after a lot of those so-called ‘alternative’ singer-songwriters of the last couple decades, but with a full band in tow. That sort of changes somewhat with the near-eight minute “Reflections” that offers more introspection with doubled lead vocals, same trajectory though — soft to hard and edgy, with a potent guitar lead driving it all forward. “Best Before” closes the set nicely starting with an interesting acoustic guitar figure, reminding me a little of John Mayer’s “Gravity,” but again mid-song the electric guitar comes in slashing. The difference this time is it retreats back to acoustic and alternates again, setting it apart from the other tunes in the set. Moutter is a fine songwriter, vocalist, and lyricist, and the rest of the band are excellent musicians — they just need to work on doing things differently from the same formula in order to keep their sound interesting over the length of a full LP, which I suspect is where they will be going next.
Related artist(s): Cafe Fistfight
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