ALBUM REVIEW: Sticky Fingers – “Caress Your Soul”

Sticky Fingers - Caress Your Soul Album Art

Sticky Fingers 

Caress Your Soul 

(MGM)

Some sounds are made for warm afternoons spent lying on grass, chewing on a stem of wheat, watching clouds roll across the big blue. Rage Against The Machine and Pendulum don’t fit this bill, but Sticky Fingers sure do.

Having firmly established themselves as one of the hardest-touring acts in the country, the question remained of whether the Sydney band could translate their brand of supple psyche reggae into studio magic.

With production overseen by Dann Hume (the go-to indie guy behind Lisa Mitchell, Alpine and Gossling), Caress Your Soul is a mellow fusion of lo-fi reggae jams with killer hooks hidden beneath its loping gait. The bouncing, interlocking rhythms supplied by the drums and bass skilfully avoid any downtempo quagmires that dub music often becomes ensnared in.

There are handy flashes of experimentation too – opener “How To Fly” stretches out some washy keyboard drones before the bass thumps in and everything is hosed down with reverb. “Freddy Crabs” goes one further with shimmering synths, looped vocals and a hefty psychedelic bent.

Most of the time though, Caress Your Soul deals in warm, languid reggae. Standout cut “Bootleg Rascal” sways heavily atop a thick bassline and delivers a sleek, liquidy guitar solo. The title track (which snagged number 61 in the Hottest 100), comes straight after and goes for the pop jugular, upping the beat and abandoning the laid back pulse for a frenzied jam. Likewise, “Clouds And Cream” seems ready made for the stoner dance floor. “Australia Street” and “These Girls” come off a little half-baked, lacking the vibrant array of colours of the surrounding tracks.

Light and dreamy but with considerable depth, Caress Your Soul reads like a Sunday afternoon – full of warmth and soul.

Caress Your Soul is out now.

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Great expectations: An interview with Sticky Fingers

ImageThey scored a hit with last year’s single “Caress Your Soul” , and now Sydney band Sticky Fingers have just dropped their debut record of the same name. We chatted to the keys player, Daz, about the process of crafting the record. 

You guys had a hit last year with ‘Caress Your Soul’, did you have any idea it was going blow up like that?

We were quietly confident that it would get some Jplay but we never expected it to get added to high rotation and make 61 on the hottest 100. When we were jamming on the track in the garage, the song was originally a lot slower without lyrics in the chorus – off comes Paddy from the loo and he writes the main hook which gives the song its more pop appeal.

There’s a heap of different genres bouncing around within your music, who do think stands out as being the biggest influence on your sound?

Yeah we’ve definitely got a bunch of different genres bouncing around so I guess it’s hard to draw it down to one influence. I guess our main influences would be Pink Floyd, Gorillaz, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Cold Chisel, You Am I, The Chilli Peppers, but if I had to draw it down to one then I think I couldn’t get away without mentioning local Sydney reggae legends King Tide. We played a lot of shows supporting those cats when we were starting out and so we owe em a few schooners. We were a pretty shit band back then and King Tide have always been the tightest reggae band goin round so we were surprised they wanted anything to do with us! We’ve always aspired to crank tight reggae snaps like the king tide boys, and I think you can hear those in our album.

Your debut album is on the shelves, relieved?

Yeah you know what it is! We’d recorded a couple of EPs before but recording an album was pretty stressful. We had to deal with deadlines that we just weren’t used to so we had to work harder than ever before. I think we each put a lot more pressure on ourselves and each other to produce high quality performances. It was a race to the finish but we got there, and we couldn’t be much happier with our first real body of work.

How did the recording process play out?

Yeah it’s funny looking back on it cos it had its ups and downs. We recorded part of the album at Mr Milk studios and the rest at Linear studios which is where we really felt the heat of recording to deadlines. I remember clearly that we only had one day left to record vocals (this was at Linear) and Dyz came back from the Gold Coast having spent an all nighter celebrating his Aunty’s wedding. We all thought it would be a waste of time and that he’d spend most of the time David Booning on the couch, but with a bottle of JD in his hands he managed to plough through the tracks in very few takes. It was a weird kind of professionalism that I honestly didn’t think existed in Dyz but shit the little prick really surprised me that day! You can hear on some of the tracks dyzza’s raspy vocals which really illuminated the track. I don’t think some of his vocals would sound as good if he didn’t have a bender the night before! Won’t forget that.

Did you start out with an idea of what you wanted it to sound like?

Not really hey. We’d already written some of the tracks like How to Fly and These Girls a while ago so it wasn’t as if all the tracks were written together over a small period of time. We kinda just wanted to put the best tracks and the ones we were most happy with together, regardless of the discrepancies in genre and style. Our producer Dan Hume, was able to build strong unity mainly through the drums and the crazy effects he whipped up but I think if you listen to the album closely, you’ll appreciate the different influences and styles goin on. We owe a lot to Dan for bringing that craziness together into a cohesive album of work. Crazy ass.

Are there any tracks that you’re particularly proud of, or tracks that were difficult to finish?

I’m particularly proud of These Girls. That one was one of the few recorded without a click track and as a live band, so I feel that you can really hear that organic sound. I love the way Dyz sings on that track too and Seamus’ solo is one of his more mellow melodic sounding ones which fits perfectly in the track.

I’d say Freddy Crabs was pretty hard to finish cos we always kept writing more to it even when we were recording! It’s a real jam and I’m stoked with how it came out. Mad to play live as well, can’t hide the crab face on that one.

How do you want the audience to react to it? Any feelings that you wanted to get across?

I just hope they can groove to it! Most of the lyrics are sexual or to do with getting blind so at times there’s no need for further in depth analysis. I just hope that people who enjoy having fun and not taking shit too seriously can appreciate the lyrics and the music the most. There’s definitely some lyrical genius behind Paddy and Dyz’s lines even if they don’t make a lot of sense at first glance, but as long as it brings you a smile bruddaz that’s all that matters!

You’re also heading out on tour soon, any crazy shenanigans on stage that we should be prepared for?   

Well, it’s kinda different for every show. We never plan the craziness it just happens spontaneously. All that we can guarantee is that we’ll be pumpin all the album tunes and some old favourites as well. We’ll also be flippin some of the tunes round so that they translate live. We’re predominantly a live band so that’s definitely important for us!

Sticky Fingers debut record Caress Your Soul is out now. Their headline tour kicks off March 22 at Sydney’s Manning Bar.

Sticky Fingers drop new single, “Australia Street”

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Sticky Fingers

Australia Street

Ahead of their debut release Caress Your Soul, Sydney band Sticky Fingers have given us a taste of it with first single “Australia Street”.

Ringing with influences from Matisyahu to Pink Floyd, “Australia Street” cruises with dub nostalgia, but contains just enough punch to lift it off the ground and keep it sounding fresh.