SINGLE REVIEW: Sympathy Boy by Demob Happy
Rejoice, for Demob Happy have returned! Genre-fluid new single Sympathy Boy release follows the exciting announcement of UK headline tour dates from the mystical Newcastle/Brighton trio.
Opening with delectably layered celestial synths, Sympathy Boy takes a more laid-back approach than you might have come to expect from the Demob boys - but still maintains the well-established gritty garage-rock undertones you'll have heard on tracks like Autoportrait and Less Is More. Even when the unrelentingly punchy beat and basslines kick in, every element of the track melts together seamlessly to form a beautifully smooth and ambient audio experience.
Dripping with psych-rock nostalgia, Sympathy Boy is instantly a classic. With its repetitive, catchy melodies, Matthew's signature unaffected vocals, and groovy rock 'n' roll riff to remind you who the fuck they are, this song sets the stage for a boundary-pushing and genre-bending future sound for Demob Happy.
Produced and recorded by frontman Matthew Marcantonio and mixed by Dom Craik from Coven staples Nothing But Thieves, the track was written pre-pandemic, but seems to foreshadow the current world’s tension. “There’s a lot of potential in the world at the minute for divisive thoughts," says Matthew. "It's becoming very us and them these days. It's very black and white, people are seeing things in very binary terms. We ought to all see the humanity in people first before we judge, which is essentially what the song is about. There is a mantra-esque feel to it. I’ve never done a song like that. It’s a simple message: try to be empathic. Try to be sympathetic with people. Try and connect back to nature. We all came from a single place, we all came from the soil. What's the difference between anyone? There is no difference.”
Through the lockdown Demob Happy’s creativity has remained unshackled, reaching outside the confines of the studio whilst they continue to work on new music. Earlier this year, they announced a collaboration with Argentinian brewery New Doom for their very own Doom Soda beer, and released a music video for Mother Machine completely hand-drawn and animated by multi-talented drummer Tom Armstrong.
The boys will make their return to the live stage in August, with UK headline tour dates including London’s SCALA, and a landmark set opening the main stage at Reading & Leeds festivals. Having clocked over 26 million streams, these anticipated shows mark the band’s first live dates since their most ambitious period of touring to date culminated in 2020 (apart from a cheeky headline show at Brighton Dome in October last year). With over 120 shows, and four tours of the US, their last live outing saw gigs with the likes of Jack White, Royal Blood, and The Amazons, as well as festival appearances at All Points East, Shaky Knees, Mad Cool and more.
2021 Tour Dates
25th August - Cavern, Exeter
26th August - Thekla, Bristol
27th August - Reading Festival
28th August - Leeds Festival
31st August - O2 Academy, Oxford
1st September - Club Academy, Manchester
2nd September - O2 Academy, Liverpool
3rd September - Newcastle, Northumbria Uni
4th September - Broadcast, Glasgow
6th September - Bodega, Nottingham
7th September - O2 Institute 3, Birmingham
9th September - Scala, London
10th September - Patterns, Brighton
11th September - Patterns, Brighton
Review by Courtney Myers
Photography by Richard Stow