Nimmo and the Gauntletts
The Prince Albert
It is often said these days that bands wear their influences too much on their sleeves; that they recycle rather than create, aiming to be the new Joy Division or Smiths rather than something new and of themselves. This is a charge which certainly cannot be levelled at Nimmo and the Gauntletts, a multi-instrumentalist five-piece originally hailing from North London. Taking the confessional, soulful lyrics of reggae and the DIY attitude of early hip-hop, they have forged a spikey, Talking Heads-esque sound which nonetheless stays true to their stated aim of an ‘organic’ musical vision.
Comprising Reva Gauntlett and Sarah Nimmo sharing guitar and vocal duties, Josh Faull on violin and bass and Hannah Rose on saxophone and keyboards, it can’t be said that the band are lacking in potential musical avenues to explore – a fact of which they are clearly aware. ‘I’ve been listening to a lot of ‘80s synth stuff recently’ Sarah says, mentioning the appropriately trendy Depeche Mode and then, with much shuffling of feet and nervous glances, confessing her love for Duran Duran. It is this appreciation for music across all spectrums, not simply that approved by the NME-and-Topshop crowd, that sets Nimmo and the Gauntletts apart from so much of the ‘landfill indie’ which has been churned out by blokes with guitars in the post-Libertines world. Take, for instance, their inclusion of a saxophone. This is a feature which would function in any other band either as a gimmicky novelty or as a signifier of a ‘70s revivalist/ E Street Band throwback. Here, however, we come back to the adjective put forward by Reva herself: ‘organic’. The saxophone plays a constant melodic role alongside the other instruments, never dominating but always present. It is this interplaying between members of the band which has led to such illustrious institutions as The Joe Strummer Foundation for New Music (who have been championing the band) to describe them as ‘jazzy’. Not, to be sure, because of their inclinations for extended solos and berets, but rather because of the apparently unconscious communication between the different players. Indeed, Sarah admits that the band has a problem filling set-lists because their propensity to ‘play everything at double tempo’ when on stage.
There are really two bands here, then. There is Nimmo and the Gauntletts the fast-playing, moshpit-inducing, goodtime indie band, and there is a somewhat more thoughtful and potentially more interesting band behind them. Here’s hoping that they explore that potential, although one thing is certain: whatever anyone else says doesn’t matter one iota to this lot.
Nimmo and the Gauntletts have a new EP, ‘Starcrossed Lonely’, out now.