NEW ARTIST FINDS: BOKITO
When people think of England, ‘island music’ is generally the furthest thing from their mind. After all, the common association of sweet, sweaty beaches; full of sunbaked and coconut-buttered browned skin crisping in the sun; tropical drinks, full of deadly umbrellas and crazy, curly straws, while reggaeton, moombahton, tropicalia, reggae, and soca lazily crank and sway until sun-up couldn’t be further from the misty, often miserablist fog-shrouded climes of old Albion.
But England IS an island, do not forget, and its musical culture is much more Island-influenced than most people realize, especially in 2017. Racial and cultural tensions and identities play out differently in the UK, meaning much more interplay between the worlds of Indie, Punk Rock, and underground dance music, like the dub-dipped bass music out of Bristol, once known as trip-hop, upon a time.
BOKITO - BETTER AT GETTING WORSE
All of these various styles, threads, and associations come together under the umbrella drink of Bokito’s ‘Tropical Indie’ - a mash-up of dancehall, indie rock, soca, funk. Their debut single, “Better At Getting Worse,” is a fine, fine example of the disparate elements working together seamlessly, to make a whole greater than the sum of its parts. Musically, “Better At Getting Worse” is all sunshine and brightness, with a calypso-like organ bounce kicking things off in high gear. It’s catchy AF, like a summer cold, and you’ll have as hard of a time shaking these spiky earworms out of your imagination. It spares Bokito from being mere lifestyle accessible, bringing to mind classic British dark, angst rock like The Smiths/Morrissey, Joy Division, or The Cure, with Moorhouse exploring the dark, damaged parts of the male psyche in his lyrics. He compares himself to an ape, blinded with rage, and wondering if he’d have been better off staying up in the trees. It’s gloriously self-effacing, and also nuanced, offering some extra layers to chew over and think about, while you’re losing your mind in some white sand beach dance pit somewhere.
Despite “Better At Getting Worse” being Bokito’s first proper single, the band are already catching a major head of steam, regularly playing shows and headlining around London. This is perhaps due to the fact that, while “Better At Getting Worse” is their newest single, Bokito are NOT a new band, having been together for two years, while vocalist Moses Moorehouse and Jody Lahart have been making music since meeting in university eight years ago. Their chemistry comes across, as they’ve already been interviewed for the influential punk/indie mag Louder Than War and ratcheting up nearly 10,000 plays on SoundCloud within scant few weeks of the single being released. Drake and Rihanna best watch out, as there are some new digital dancehall gunslingers in town. Maybe Bokito and “Better At Getting Worse” will finally knock “Work” off of the charts.
Here at We Are: The Guard, we remain dedicated to trawling absolutely every nook, niche, corner, and crevice to find the greatest, shiniest, most cutting-edge underground music. Big ups and mad respect to Beca Arredondo, one of our Guard curators, for bringing Bokito to light. Our lives are much chiller, sunnier, shadier, and sweatier for it!