REVIEW album Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

Otherworldly Sounds Emerge From Flamingods' "Hyperborea"

Old Subbacultcha

Old Subbacultcha

The experimental psychedelic world-music quintet release their second album today via Shape Records and it tastes rather good.


One thing most would agree is tremendously hard nowadays in the world of music is to sound truly unique, without much resemblance in sound to other bands.  Well I tip my hat to the exotic and ethnic quintet that are Flamingods for being one of the few to tick this box.

Sail back to 2009, Kamal Rasool (lead singer + percussionist) is sitting in his bedroom in Bahrain creating jams and musical buds of ideas; these ideas later blossoming into ceremonial apocalyptic tracks nothing short of incredible. School friends Sam Rowe, Craig Doporto and Charles Prest would later join Kamal after jamming together.

They called themselves Flamingods and began their journey of creating wonderful boundary pushing sound-scapes as a band.  Conjoining a beautiful selection of African drums, various percussive instruments from across the world, vocal delay and tribal-esque chanting, the boys had already made an extremely beautiful  trademark sound for themselves. Later as they stepped out into the big smoke that is London, the band added a fifth and final member to the group in the form of drummer Karthik Poduval. They were set to boogie! - headdresses and thobes at the ready.


So, "Hyperborea".  This album don’t half take you on a journey.  Its a spiritual one first and foremost, letting your consciousness delve into hidden depths and heights and all in between; secondly it is a trip into a virtual tour of the world, picking up ethnic influences from each corner of the earth whilst keeping your funky toe-tapping needs at a high through numbers such as title track "Hyperborea" that embodies the catchiest guitar riff, rich in wah wah's.

Thirdly... well its fantastically intriguing and was put together by sharing files over the internet due to Kamal living in Dubai.  What an achievement!

Although diverse in rhythms and melody combinations, there are effective simplistic repeated phrases in many songs that are an essential hook without you knowing it. That’s the beauty of this band's music, there are so many things going on that carry you away into another land - you always ‘feel’ all that you’re hearing. Give a music critic this album and you have a hard job on your hands as you slowly realise there are both diverse and simplistic things going on all at once, it’s clever.

Most certainly influenced by the nonconforming rhythm structures and general song compositions that thrive within more tribal music, both Sam and Kamal have previously commented on their love for going with how something flows; with no rules, getting into another world with your music so to speak.

Talking with Loud & Quiet a couple of years back Sam and Kamal both commented on how their style is what it is. “We don’t uniform songs,” says Sam. “We like the idea of repetitive, ongoing music, for ages, without any verse, lyrics or chorus – it can just be music forever.”

“ I was in the Amazon and we met a tribe there who were playing music,” says Kamal, “but I realised they weren’t looking at notes or reading any music, they were just going with it, making music, making stuff up and getting into a euphoric state. They didn’t have any experience, musically, and neither do I.  I just play what I play and hope it sounds good, but I’m lucky to have these guys, because I’ll just come up with the ideas of the songs and can take it to these guys who can put it into a structure and make sense of it.”

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flams Photo by Eleanor Hardwick from Latitude festival 2013[/caption]

Within the binds of happy dancy exotic instrumentation there are also psychedelic rock jams, blissful ambient electronic layers, raga-esque dirty grooves and watery sounding trickles that complete the experience as a summery worldly one. With the bands debut album ‘Sun’ (Art Is Hard Records) being a more psychedelic pop based record, this new album sings true with a natural progression in sound, encompassing more exploration with basslines, electronic layers and delays, but it still harbours that sunshine feel throughout.

Tracks such as ‘Mother Hen and ‘Vimana’ are wonderfully rich in happy spirits, drums and inventive rhythms, then you get a good dose of nostalgic long-drive-stare-into-the-distance-and-think-upon-life-and-its-ways from ‘Lake Yaylaru (Where We Live Underneath The Water)’.

As previously mentioned, Flamingods are something to behold. Their live performances are a crazy sonic euphoric religious experience where everyone ends up smiling like the Cheshire cat whilst dancing crazily as if on acid. Their recorded material has many a layer all hoisted up by the rooted emotion of love - the pure love they have for their art. Also they are the loveliest guys around, just to place the cherry on that Flamingod cake.


Cardiff based band Islet recently conjured up their own label named Shape Records, and "Hyperborea" is their baby to claim. You can be sure to get your own copy of Hyperborea on limited edition vinyl or download as of today! Click here to order

Click here to watch the video for "Hyperborea" filmed by the bands very own Charles Prest.

Click here to watch the brand new video for "Vimana" made by Niall Trask

Click here to listen to the album via Spotify

Catch Flamingods on their tour, get details via their Facebook