Scarlotte Will isn’t easy to write about – mostly cause I have no idea whether their name means something. Even geographically, they refused to be boxed in: They hail from Gauteng – that is, Randfontein, Pretoria, and Kempton Park. However, the four-piece alternative rock band have been working hard to hang on everyone’s lips. They are one of the hardest-working and constantly-gigging bands I know of that teeter on the edge of “underground”. Whatever that means these days. They pop up regularly on stages at The Bohemian, Railways Cafe, and Arcade Empire, practically opened the main stage at Oppikoppi this year, and had a stint high up on the Tuks FM top 30.
Their self-titled EP was officially released at Oppikoppi, and opens with a track called Let the blind men see. The song title immediately raises my suspicions that the music might be preachy or deliver a “message”. But the band’s focus on melody and groove diluted these fears quickly. They deliver something that reminds me of groups like Tree63, with touches of Queens of the Stone Age influences. It’s not that their songs are pointless or vague, but rather that their lyrics are contemplative, questioning, and philosophical rather than preachy.
Whale Song features whale-like effects and guitar slides, and centers around a refrain of “Take me away from here; Your heart belonged to me and I’ve gone astray”. In its delicate arrangement, Scarlotte Will proves that they have a dynamic range that works equally well when quietly crooning as when loudly wailing (excuse the pun). It’s a fervid lament for times past that’s fiery and heartfelt without ever coming close to being self-indulgently soppy.
The EP contains five tracks of exciting riffs, propulsive energy and passionate presentation. It rocks in a way that makes feet tap while listening to the CD, and will make heads bang when listening live.
There’s an underlying nonchalant cool in the vocal delivery, despite its enthusiasm. They’re not trying to be pushy, offensive, or transgressive, but not retreating to the safety of pop either. Scarlotte Will isn’t breaking down walls and smashing norms, but they’re certainly making waves. The EP is available on Soundcloud, Deezer, and iTunes.
Scarlotte Will is a four-piece alternative rock band from Gauteng. “It’s the sound of Rock n’ Roll as if a head-banging hook might bring you to tears. Enjoy the show.”