Unsigned Band O’Day: You and Others Around You
Published on July 5th, 2011 | Jonny Abrams
“You and Others Around You”: it’s a phrase usually preceded by the ominous caveat of “smoking seriously harms” but, as wild an ambition as it might be to trump a government health warning emblazoned on the packaging of the world’s most addictive substance, this east London quartet might just have what it takes to make it their own.
Primarily the brainchild of always-splendidly-turned-out front man Dan Robinski, You and Others Around You have been steadily building a following with a series of increasingly assured performances at venues around Camden and Shoreditch. However, don’t be misled by this hipsters’ rite of passage – or indeed by the vintage synths, drum machines and jerky stage mannerisms – because Robinski and co conjure up songs so brimming with heart and melody that they have more in common with Pulp than some of the vacuous guff churned out by their immediate peers.
The most obvious reference points – to Rocksucker’s ears, anyway – would be Pulp and David Byrne, the latter of whom is further evoked by Robinski’s jittery, wide-eyed stage presence. The YAOAY EP available on their Bandcamp page is worth £1 of anyone’s money, boasting as it does six potential chart-botherers: ‘Crooked Eye’ is the perfect encapsulation of early morning, post-warehouse party melancholy, ‘Two Twenty Two’ trots along breezily before swelling into the kind of rush-inducing chorus that has ‘festival highlight’ stamped all over it, while ‘St Paul’, although not quite as epic as its cathedral namesake, rocks the same oddball funktrain as Speaking In Tongues-era Talking Heads.
Elsewhere, ‘Dance Like a Vegetable’ aligns smart, narcotic-infused lyricism (“God I hate this town / But I fucking love it now”) with what in any fair universe would be a cast-iron party playlist standard, ‘Happy 5’ shuffles along like Stevie Wonder venturing uncertainly down a warp pipe and ‘Both Sides of the Coin’ is a deceptively sweet-toothed and subtly soulful excursion into electro-pop.
The YAOAY EP is available to stream for free or download for £1 from youandothersaroundyou.bandcamp.com – and, at that kind of money, it’s likely to be one of the wiser investments you’ll make this year.
You and Others Around You are, from left to right: Andrew ‘Hoey’ Hoey (bass, lead guitar), Sydney Southam (synths, backing vocals), Dan Robinski (vocals, rhythm guitar, drum programming), John Bolton (drums, backing vocals).