Album Review of Strike a Match by Sacred Paws.
Release Date: Jan 27, 2017
Record label: Rock Action
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Rachel Aggs and Eilidh Rodgers formed Sacred Paws while they were playing together in the indie pop band Golden Grrrls, then kept going after that band split. Despite living in London and Glasgow, respectively, the thrill they felt playing together was enough to make the distance traveled to play and record worth every boring minute on a train or bus. That thrill comes through loud and clear on their first album, the Afro-pop-inspired Strike a Match.
Born out of the ashes of indie-pop trio Golden Grrrls, Sacred Paws untethered themselves in the name of rhythm. Guitarist and vocalist Rachel Aggs felt her inherent inner beat was one she shared with Golden Grrls drummer Eilidh Rodgers, and that it was one that wasn’t confined to the more straightforward indie-pop of their former band. Despite their continued geographical divide (Aggs lives in London and Rodgers in Glasgow), and the former’s busy schedule as a member of both Shopping and Trash Kit, the pair have bashed out a wonderful collection imbued with tropical pulses.
Ah, this is such a tonic. Opener Nothing is the eyebrow-raiser and second song Rest is all it takes to seal the deal: from curious to committed in six minutes. Sacred Paws' DIY ethos has little truck with identikit indie shapes, instead taking its cue from classic Afro-pop: the burbling beats, the clean guitar tone, voices raised in sweet and uplifting harmony, and the deft picking of the high strings a refreshing alternative to the, huh, regular alternative.
The latest project from guitarist and vocalist Rachel Aggs (Shopping, Trash Kit) and drummer Eilidh Rodgers (Golden Grrls), there’s a certain feeling of artistic rebirth about Strike A Match. It feels energised and uncompromising, never taking itself too seriously, but still managing a candid kind of poignancy. Empty Body, for example, uses call-and-response vocals to address the reality of dealing with mental health issues against an indie-pop backdrop.