Track Review: Jodie Abacus: Hungry Like A Puppy

‘A shoulder-shifting, smile-inducing, soulfully old-skool sound that makes you hungry for more!’

Intro to Jodie:
Way back in February 2017 – in the very early days of Listen to Discover – I made the chance find of a track called ‘Keep Your Head Down.’ Showcasing the deep tones of Jodie’s voice wonderfully, it proved he was one to watch. And since that BBC Introducing performance which, well, introduced me to him, he has been on a roll with releases. With countless catchy singles, energy-filled EP’s and an album full of ample creativity, it’s little wonder he’s earned more than 35,000 monthly listeners. In truth, it should be higher. However, with his latest single release making you hungry for even more of Jodie’s music and an EP literally round the corner, the numbers are sure to get even higher very soon.

Track Review:
From the second the cymbals roll, the chords chime and the guitar wails you know that ‘Hungry Like A Puppy’ is going to be one soulful track. Full of intent, yet chilled, the sensations that are to follow are captured immediately and with drum fills taking us to the first of the groove-inducing sounds, it becomes even clearer. Funk-filled, the rhythmic motifs are incredibly enticing and paired with vowel-centred vocal hooks, it sounds as timeless as can be.

Generating an infectious sound throughout the introduction, on reaching the initial lyrics of ‘Crash landed, that’s what happened’ it becomes even more impossible to not move to the shamelessly old-skool style. Built on a disco-influenced mix of open and closed high-hat, additional percussion and sustained, synth-centred bass, it makes a truly great accompaniment to Jodie’s lyrics. So much so that before we know it, we arrive at the earworm filled chorus.

Subtly changing the groove to contain more non-percussive elements, rhythmically echoing synths and palm-muted guitar lines ensure the sense movement is apparent. Being so blatant in the delivery, it’s hard not to do likewise and as quickly as the chorus arrived, your toe-tapping has turned into shoulder shifting! Nodding to the stylistic origins, the simplicity of the lyricism ensures we can join in straightaway. This is of course no negative – the most classic of tracks do this – and the effect here is just as it should be: Incredibly successful.

Following what is the cheekiest of bass guitar solos – one that literally stops you in your tracks – the former energy returns with greater dominance in the bass line. Providing extra depth to the sound, it further pushes our movement and the momentum of the track in equal measure. Meanwhile, Jodie’s vocals dance above and delivering lines such as Dreams of the weekend, bring back the feeling,’ we are in no doubt that enjoyment is most definitely the order of the day. And having been served that, we are about to get a second and third helping.

Briefly taking the track in a new, yet cleverly and highly related direction, following an extended chorus, the texture shifts to become infused with cascading bell tones and selective bass. Instrumentally nodding to sub-genres, and vocally switching to have the line of ‘Just another night without you there’ soulfully harmonised, it really shows how Jodie makes musical contrasts truly work as one. However, if it’s musical contrasts you want, the remainder of the track is to deliver them in abundance.

Having hinted throughout at musical cheekiness, in becoming instrumentally centred – other than the opening vowel based hook – this really comes to the fore. Each bringing superbly unexpected additional content, ideas such as rhythmically set dog-barks and dominant bell chords to name just two sit among the relentless yet relaxed groove to this point. 

Both providing musical humour and cheek in abundance, they ensure our attention grabs onto something different, yet familiar every few seconds. However, with an evolving myriad of vocals bursting through, and a multitude of instrumental lines combining to create a true party style sound, it is the concluding moments of the track that completely ensure you are left hungry for more.

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Jodie Abacus is part of Listen to Discover’s #FridayFindsFeaturedArtist series which you can keep up to date with on Twitter and Facebook.

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