Boom! Bap! Pow!
Here is an increasingly rare commodity: a talented band that don’t take themselves too seriously. This isn’t to imply that the band aren’t serious musicians, with some serious chops, it’s just that they wield them with a sense of fun. Perth outfit Boom! Bap! Pow! play a note-perfect if tongue-in-cheek throwback brand of soul and doo-wop that harks to a time when cars and women were fast, hair was big, and saxophone had centre stage.
Following in the footsteps of Sharon Jones And The Dap Kings and Amy Winehouse, they combine retro soul with modern class and sex appeal, much of which is supplied by front woman Novac Bull. Her voice ranges from bitter-sweet to the kind of balls-out roar that only the Kings Of Leon’s sound engineers can produce. She writes songs that an old press release described as ‘fun, trashy doo-wop’, they’re fun, danceable songs that are in the tradition of soul… and chiefly about heartache.
“I have to make most of that up,” laughs Novac. “I come up with an imaginary scenario and write from there. I’m in a really good relationship with a great guy, but I just pretend that he’s a douchebag and fucks me over all the time. I mean, I’ve had hear-break before, so I know what it feels like, and my man still does enough to piss me off that I’m inspired. He’s a good muse that way.”
Novac joined the band about two years ago after they’d already been established and believes that after an awkward period where it felt like she was singing in a cover band, the group’s songwriting has matured into itself. This is backed up by the fact that the latest EP, No Pleasin’ is a subtle, smoky jam, which builds on the hyperactive party-band legacy of Boom! Bap! Pow!’s previous record.
“It’s just a product of knowing each other, knowing strengths and weaknesses and coming up with songs that are a little less agro. It’s just doo-wop… sometimes soul music can be quite gritty and abrasive. We still have that, always will because that’s what people love to dance to, but we’ve moved on from that attack! The structures are a little more grown up.”
Indeed, Boom! Bap! Pow! have carved up dancefloors across Perth for the past couple of years, and their groove-based soul has gotten them a solid fanbase and onto stages with soul legends including The Temptations, The Four Tops and The Miracles. Now they are about embark on their first national tour supporting swing legends the Royal Crown Revue.
“It’s pretty exciting. Royal Crown Revue are masters; they’ve been there since back in the day and they own it on stage. Having a support like that is quite humbling. I think we can learn a shitload from them. The come from the land that all this music we’re inspired by originated.”
“The national tour is going to be great,” she continues. “Royal Crown have their own following: we’re totally blessed to be able to showcase our stuff off the back of them. Without them, we would have to do it off our own backs, which, coming from Perth, makes it difficult.
But as for our humble city by the bay, it’s clear that the band are more than excited about hitting up Melbourne for a party. “We’re looking forward to playing Melbourne. The crowds are great, and they appreciate good music. I hope everyone comes to our shows,” enthuses Bull.
The good people of Melbourne will no doubt appreciate Boom! Bap! Pow! so they’d need fear not – this is a city that doesn’t mind a bit of fun.
BOOM! BAP! POW! play The Empress on Sunday January 23, The Corner Hotel on Tuesday January 25 and Wednesday January 26 supporting Royal Crown Revue and then they’re at Bertha Brown on Thursday January 27. Their 2009 album You Got It So Bad For Boom! Bap! Pow! is out now, as is their new single No Pleasin’ .