After a winter of X Factor hopefuls and endless Adele, London hailing Manqub offer up a much needed palate cleanse in the form of their first track Hostage. A unique blend of nostalgic jazz-pop, the track has modern roots with a sweet spot evocative of both the calmness of The Mamas & The Papas’ Dream A Little Dream and King of Limbs era Radiohead.
While the intensity lifts toward the end of the track, as a general rule Hostage has been treated with a light touch – not a whiff of overpowered guitars or a drummers ego. In fact, while the track is led by a sombre piano line, it’s fuelled by a deliciously loose cymbal, rolling around under a ticking, summery guitar.
Vocalist Helena Deakin harks back to an arguably better era, with a soft, deep clarity to her voice that grows into a sort of grown-up lullaby. Fitting neatly into the hallowed 3:30 ground, the track doesn’t set out to break any major barriers but has certain twinges that really do make it stand out from the rest of the noise.
Inescapably vintage yet with a contemporary feel most would swoon at, one of the only regrettable features is that its gentle lull never fully morphs into something further. But being left wanting more is no bad thing for a duo coming into the most saturated industry in the world. Having already had exposure via BBC Introducing and yet to play their first show, Manqub have set the bar pretty high for themselves. If Hostage is anything to go by, they have the power to match it.
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