Hailing from Brisbane, Australia we present The Pockets, a foursome of pure, close and spine tingling harmonies atop ukuleles from bass through to concert. This quartet persuade your ears to drift back in time to the 1940’s with their lush sumptuous sound. All aboard the Great Glass Elevator as we take a look at their debut album.
The gentlest plink you’ll ever hear starts off our vintage voyage with Pure Imagination, the amazing song from the 1971 classic version of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. The soft voices and interwoven harmonies that give this band their trademark timbre are introduced very early as they twist and turn effortlessly around the lead line we all know. I use the word “effortlessly” advisedly as getting your voice to harmonise so closely with those around you is a terribly difficult skill to master. If you take one thing away from this review then know this. The Pockets have mastered it.
The album continues with a mix of original songs and cover versions. These include Sixty Seconds Got Together which sounds delightfully authentic, the accompaniment mostly coming from a relatively lo-fi banjolele and a ukulele staple in form of a rather nifty version Sweet Georgia Brown complete with a less authentic but curiously welcome melodica solo.
There are then original songs aplenty, many given lyrics by a fez wearing fellow countryman otherwise known as Tyrone. Bassist Samuel Vincent comes into fruition in two of these original songs, Hold My Hand and Unaccompanied. The smooth jazz bass in these songs is magnificent in its own right but even more impressively so as it’s performed on the neck of a u-bass. Mr personal favourite is Not Today, a beautiful dream of a song flowing along in 6/8 time with sweet chord progressions, jazz in its heart with a subtle Spanish lilt to the ukulele and a gentle nod to Paris in the melodica solo. Utterly delightful from the first note to the last.
The Pockets’ harmonies without question whisper into the soul of their style and mark their distinctive sarsaparilla thumbprint. Still the delicate ukuleles and melodic u-bass should not be forgotten for this is a true ukulele band where few other instruments raise their necks, strings, reeds or mouthpieces. I salute the pure nature of the recording, I enjoy and relax at the result and I marvel at those vocals for this is a sweet gem of an album.