Album Review: Ain't It Great EP - The Q-Tip Bandits

Tom Moorcroft takes a look at the indie/rock sensations from across the pond

Tom Moorcroft
9th April 2020
No, they’re not a Q-tip wielding gang enforcing personal hygiene. This Boston-based five-piece are an indie-rock/pop outfit with some of the sweetest tones that side of the Atlantic. With the added durability of both trumpet and trombone, they’re taking indie music up a notch with some diverse tunes which need to be heard.

Describing themselves as a mixture between the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Hippo Campus, I was somewhat sceptical. Not only did I find the two genres quite contrasting, but attempting to blend the funk vibes of the RHCPs with the inherent indie sound of Hippo Campus seems like a daunting task. However, after listening to the few tracks set to be released later this week, I can rest assured that not only were they successful, but they knocked the concept out of the park. 

They have a clear rhythm based ideology, in which the bass and drums are the heartbeat of their songs, with the guitar and various brass instruments adding delicious tastes of funk/jazz

They've had success in the past with their hit single "Willow" reaching over 315,000 streams worldwide. If you want a teaser of what their new EP might sound like, feel free to listen to the Indie/Rock anthem below.

Source: The Q-Tip Bandits on YouTube

So let’s dive into some of the tracks we can expect on their upcoming EP Ain’t It Great...

The title track "Ain’t It Great" is a staple of their sound, with a natural jazz rhythm and funky guitar lead tones on top. With a light arpeggio introduction from the solo guitar, we’re met with a strong combination of trumpet and trombone, leading the jazz ensemble towards a roaring chorus. I love the sound of the drums in this track, with a strip-back acoustic feel which keeps the song going. I also think the bass deserves a shout-out, with a nice jazzy arrangement which blends sweetly with the drums.

The light brass solos speed the tempo up, climaxing with a fusion of spiky guitar chords and smooth trumpet and trombone

There’s a real vibrancy to their tone and, although while listening you can’t see them, you could assume that they all have a smile on their face and genuinely love to play music. My curiosity led me to their YouTube channel, where this theory was confirmed. Just looking at their performance below is testament to how lifting their music is, with each band member lost in their music.

Source: YouTube @The Q-Tip Bandits

The other two tracks available on the EP, "What’s Your Drug" and "The Wolf", flows in a similar way to "Ain’t It Great", with a jazz-infused introduction guaranteed to get you swaying to the beat. They’re very tightly arranged tunes, and it’s clear that a lot of music theory and thought went into their arrangement. "The Wolf" is a much slower melody to the others, with dashes of guitar that almost mirror that of John Frusciante - with a clean and punchy guitar tone we’ve seen in many a Chili Peppers solo.

I actually managed to speak to the co-front person of The Q-Tip Bandits, Leo Son, to ask all of my burning questions. Click here to check it out!

Whilst some may see the amount of instruments they have as a weakness, perhaps quoting the “too many cooks spoil the broth” cliché, this band prides themselves on working together to create a wall of sound, with each instrument bouncing off the other in a smooth and coherent manner.

There isn’t a single instrument that takes precedence over the others. Instead they all work in tandem, to deliver their key message of “freedom and joy”.

I really love how they sound and I’m so happy to have caught onto them sooner rather than later! With their debut EP Ain’t It Great set to be released on April 10th on all popular streaming platforms, they’re a band which anyone can easily stick on and go on a journey with. Their psychedelic blend of laid-back Indie-Rock and Pop, with sprinkles of Jazz for good measure, makes them a feel good band for anyone to enjoy. A must add to your summer playlist!

Feature image credit: Holy Smoke Photography

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AUTHOR: Tom Moorcroft
Head of Sport for The Courier. Current 3rd year English Literature and History student. Love writing about sports/music, playing the guitar and Everton FC!

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