EP Review... Sahara - Intox EP

Sahara are influenced by Foals. Their Facebook profile would also have them be compared equally to boiled potatoes and the Sahara desert, but really, Foals are the dominant force at work here, on Sahara’s debut: the Intox EP.

They also have a cover of ‘Inhaler’ up on Youtube and their name may very well be inspired by the Foals single ‘Spanish Sahara’ - at many other points on this EP, other band’s influences can be glaringly obvious - but this massive love for their heroes is actually quite healthy for Sahara.
Sahara have grasped the fundamentals of what makes the music they love so effective and have built from that template. On Intox, rhythm is central and infectious; textures and atmospheres are cavernous; vocals are eloquent and wail with expression. Where many have failed horribly, Sahara seem to have the technical ability and musical unity to execute this math-indie palaver tastefully and the end results sound promising. If not original, this is certainly exciting music from Winchester band.

The opening track, “Prologue”, crashes and explodes from tenderness into a mammoth ascension impressively. The production is lush and deserves praise for its part in making this band sound HUGE.

“Coming Down” has a more conventional pop structure and sees the entrance of frontman, Laith Whatwham: his wailing, rubber-voiced vocals and fearful lyrics recalling Robert Smith of The Cure; wrapping around the guitar work of Robert Webb and Marko Marincic, who mesh shimmering post-rock textures with impressive angular pop chops.

“Bloodhound” is a marauding riot to listen to, something in the vein of Arctic Monkeys, and the musicianship is as impressive as anywhere on the EP.

Like we discussed earlier, Sahara wear their influences on their sleeve and have clearly grown up infatuated by the post punk revival bands of the ‘00s: Foals and friends. Few of those bands ever made for predictable listening, and appear to have set a precedent for bands like Sahara to also push themselves with regards to musical interplay, nowhere else on the EP is this more apparent than on “Bloodhound”. Ben Bowen on drums, take a bow.

But if “Bloodhound” is a showcase of the technical skill that this band have to offer, “Milk Based” displays the group’s poppier side. We love the hook:
“It’ll take a milk based,
One in the morning,
Can’t just use any old alkali”
Really enjoyable listening, it brings to mind songs like “Honolulu” by Last Dinosaurs and “What You Know” by Two Door Cinema Club. Once again the guitar work is stellar and Sam Cooper’s bassline on this track is the most addictive thing we can legally endorse.

All in, Intox is catchy and clever but derivative. There’s nothing new being offered here; that bands like As Elephants Are or Last Dinosaurs or dare we even say Foals aren’t also doing. Although, these are strong songs and the musicianship is impressive. Laith’s vocals are well developed, lyrically affecting and interesting. It’ll be interesting to see where they go from here, as they develop their own sound. These young men have enough raw talent to create something great. If they are to stand out among their contemporaries, they’ll have to push that talent further into new territory and be as adventurous and challenging as their influences dared to be. But listen out for them, there are signs that this could go somewhere.

Sahara Intox EP
Out of 10: 6.5/10

Written by - Adam Carrington

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