Nashville based rock band The Criticals were formed in 2018 by Parker Forbes and Cole Shugart. Their music and live performances are noted for their high energy, and when you realise they get their inspiration from the likes of The Stone Roses, Janes Addiction, The Doors, The Rolling Stones, The Strokes, and The Libertines, you get maybe an inkling of what they sound like.
They’re no overnight success either; independent of each other, Forges and Shugart have been honing their chops in the Nashville DIY scene for the best part of a decade, and decided to come together last year, releasing a series of singles throughout 2019, with ‘Got No Love’ the latest leading up to their new EP, ‘Mimosa Hygiene’, which was released on November 20.
‘Got No Love’ feels more like it’s from California than Nashville, but that would be the influence of The Doors on their sound; it’s laid back and languid, with a drawly vocal that verges on boredom, while somehow maintaining an angry sounding intensity. It’s got a simple instrumental, primarily jangly guitars, but pulled together with an attentive drum beat.
‘Got No Love’ is probably the most laid back track on the EP, which opens up with ‘Treat You Better‘, which we reviewed back in August – and at the time we felt it sounded like a cross between The Stones ‘Emotional Rescue’ and Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick In The Wall’ – and we haven’t changed our opinion on this. Track two is the more upbeat ‘Just For The Weekend’, a song about keeping a relationship on the back burner – “just for the weekend” – because you’re afraid if you let it go beyond that, you might just fall in love again. Now we can’t have that can we! It’s a song for the decade; describing the relationship status of so many millennials who have been hurt by love and don’t want to go down that road again.
‘Good Lookin’ is the midway point of the EP, and the lyrics are where we find ‘Mimosa Hygiene’ mentioned. It’s raunchy and rude, reminiscent of The Strokes and again, The Stones. Good stuff.
‘Homebody’ is a jaunty 80s style number, reminding me of Australian band The Cockroaches. Jangly guitars accompany a soulful vocal which seems borrowed from Elvis Costello. It’s a song about being content to stay just where we are: California and New York City are too far away…there’s a love story element to it – will she stay or will she go? In the end it doesn’t matter, because the singer is a homebody, and that’s how he’s going to stay.
‘Kate Moss’ continues the jaunty sound, and this is more than just a little nod to The Libertines, given that Moss was involved with lead singer Pete Doherty for a number of years. There’s a very strong 80s vibe to the track, and it’s surely a very powerful number played live.