Afternoon Raj: February Humidity EP
By Simon Sweetman
The members of Afternoon Raj are all based in Wellington now, but the band started in Hawke’s Bay. I saw them perform live recently and was rather baffled by the naďve collision of styles. Their songs tended to sound like Sublime playing a version of pub-rock tunes at a bar mitzvah. It was weird and I didn’t feel it really worked. Unfortunately I can’t say anything is much clearer here on their debut EP. One thing is clear – the members can play, they’re talented musicians. That’ll help if they ever choose to narrow the scope and find an actual voice. Currently it seems a case of throwing everything at the wall, scooping up what sticks, mashing that down into the grooves and hitting ‘record’. And frankly, it’s a bit of a mess. There’s a swirl of 1960s keyboard one minute and some straight-ahead rock riffing, but then the annoying white guy, punk-ska bounce takes these tunes, ultimately, nowhere. If they can sort that out they might have something. Right now, ironically, they have far too much.