What can you do with five tracks on an EP? Well, if you’re Glasgow band The Wife Guys of Reddit, the self-titled purveyors of ‘soupy rock’, then more than most. They pack so many ideas into their EPs they have the density of fruit cake or a neutron star* and The Wife Guys Walk Into Oncoming Traffic EP follows on from their outstanding February 2022 EP, Pig Fat.
Their music comes across like a beautiful shopping trolley designed by Thomas Heatherwick but with one hinky wheel that occasionally pulls you in an unexpected direction. Take the guitar riff in opening track ‘Wife Guys Diss Track’, it meanders with purpose but as each note pings out, it’s not always the one your brain is expecting. They love the word wonky in their press release; I love the word wonky in my writing; it’s a match made in heaven.
‘Gloria in Excelsis Deo!’ stomps like a gunslinger to a noon gunfight and the band say it’s inspired by “musicians who would be better off as models and catholic guilt”. It prowls and frugs but then expands halfway through into a gloriously tuneful guitar solo before skulking back into the shadows. “a galvanising ride into the conscious of a manslayer” is how the band describe ‘dudes rock!’, and it’s a pell-mell pounding-drum and bass downhill racer, weaving round rocks, taking the bumps and catching plenty of air on glinting steel guitar-wings. ‘Let Me Play a Serious One’ switches the mood up again into a flared-1970s light and dark rock romp with a killer riff, tender keyboards and treated vocals. Final track, ‘Maximum Hand Size’, features keyboardist Angus Fernie’s vocal debut over a backing that sounds like the band Boston took up residence in Laurel Canyon.
The Wife Guts of Reddit come out swinging like a super-confident 9-year old in a playground fight. These pop-savants are full of determination and aptitude, and seem to be bursting with more ideas than they can contain on one EP. If their rock is soupy then it’s the best mulligatawny or minestrone you’ve ever had, and surely it’s time they give us more than an EP. I suggest The Wife Guys of Reddit Walk Into a Studio and Record a Triple Concept Album Which Ends Up Uniting the World.
The Wife Guys of Reddit are Arion Xenos – vocals, guitar, percussion keyboard, mixing, mastering, Niamh MacPhail – lyrics, vocals, bass, violin, percussion, production, Elise Atkinson – drums, percussion, backing vocals, and Angus Fernie – keyboard, synth, vocals, backing vocals.
*matter is so compressed in a neutron star that a thimble full of it would weigh millions of tonnes on Earth
Review by Paul F Cook