If you’re looking for some decent and harmonious original ukulele based music perfectly balanced with light percussion and melodic double bass, well dear reader you really should be checking out The Small Change Diaries.
Formed a mere two years ago in 2014, ukulele playing vocalists Nick Cody and Jessica Bowie blend together consummately in both style, pitch and resonance to front a band with a simply delicious blend of laid back acoustic folk with just a sprinkle of blues and jazz. Adrian Knowles adds the graceful bass atop the genial drums and percussion from rhythm master Richard Ferdinando. It would be oh so easy for these two guys to overdo it, to dominate the ambience but no, they nail it perfectly on every single beat.
This EP takes this well crafted sound into the perhaps dying art of the protest song with four original tunes. I won’t get too bogged down in the political sentiment of the lyrics but suffice to say The Small Change Dairies are not here to say it suitably. And rightly so for if you’re writing a protest song that is the point is it not? Swearing is used to bolster the message at certain points and I for one consider this justified and whilst it may not be to everyone tastes we have to remember all language is used to deliver a message and frankly sometimes you need to say it in a bold typeface. That said the jolly nature of much of the music is more than capable of getting your foot tapping with a smile on your face, perhaps encouraging you to hum along and thereby masking the dark side just a little. And I love that. In fact some of the greatest songs ever written are as pop as you like but with an oh so sinister story.
The opening track, Not One Of Us epitomises that sentiment precisely followed by the bluesy Big Tony which certainly shakes you awake a little more with its mischievous musicality, every note as equally and despondently suggestive to the Tony Blair legacy as the lyrics themselves. On a personal level, every time I hear this song I keep thinking how much I’d love to hear a Tom Waits version!
Common Sense puns its way into the heart of Westminster and the aforementioned colourful language really lets rip coupled with a memorising arco bass and falling musical phrase that really feels like the guts of the protest. Happy then that the final song We’ll Draw You Out is a lot lighter in musical feel with a sweet picked uke melody and plucky syncopated bass.
There’s a great deal of variety squeezed into this EP which grabs the protest torch from the hands of Billy Bragg and does the genre proud. The Small Change Diaries have a wonderful line-up of talent that works so neatly together with a clear savvy for song writing and this EP has all these gifts in abundance. It’s terrific.
You only need to simply pop over to Soundcloud to hear this EP for free right now then afterwards head over to their website to find out more. Facebook & Twitter will also welcome your likes I’m sure!