Late in 2013, Cambridge based rock band Derecho released their sophomore album Coffee and Disruption. This only reinforced what people knew about Derecho. Here was a band going places. They’d come a long way since forming in late 2010. It was definitely a case of three years well spent.

Derecho had spent much of the three years, gigging all over the UK. This was all about Derecho honing and refining their sound. It’s what previous generations of bands have done. Among them, are the bands that influenced Derecho. Everything from sixties pop, punk, post rock and 21st Century rock have influenced Derecho, who over the last three years, have been winning friends and influencing people.

This includes anyone whose seen Derecho. Once you’ve heard Derecho live, you’ll never forgot it. That’s why Derecho played main stage slots at The Willow Festival in Peterborough and appeared at the 100 Club in London. That’s just two of Derecho’s biggest gigs. There’s much more to Derecho than that. This includes their back-catalogue.

Back in 2011, Derecho released their debut album Nowhere To Hide. This showcased the Cambridge quartet’s musical prowess. Fronted by lead singer and songwriter-in-chief Jo Ash, Nowhere To Run was released in December 2011. Their E.P. Roasted Butterfly was released in January 2013. Then the Change Of Season E.P was released in May 2013. By now, Derecho were enjoying commercial success. Not only had they enjoyed local success, reaching number one in the local charts. Derecho also broke into the top one-hundred in the UK. Things were looking good for Derecho. So, this was the perfect time to release their sophomore album Coffee and Disruption.

For Coffee and Disruption lead singer Jo Ash penned ten tracks. Derecho then headed into the studio. Jo sang lead vocals and played keyboards. The rest of Derecho were drummer Mike Elis, bassist Marc Zyngier and guitarist Mike Wheatley. Once the ten tracks were recorded, Coffee and Disruption was released on December 2013.

On its release, Coffee and Disruption was well received by critics. Reviews were positive. Derecho had come a long way since their debut album Nowhere To Run. The last two years, had been two years well spent. Especially when you listen to the fusion of musical influences and genres on Coffee and Disruption, which I’ll tell you about.

Remembered bursts into life, opening Coffee and Disruption. It’s a fusion of punk and rock. Lead singer Jo Ash’s vocal is a reminder of the spirit of ’76. Unlike many punk vocalists, she’s a talented singer. She delivers the lyrics with power and control. Behind her, the rest of Derecho deliver no frills rock. It’s an impressive sound. The driving, pounding rhythm section are accompanied by searing, screeching guitars. Later guitarist Mike Wheatley delivers a blistering guitar solo. That’s the finishing touch, and leaves you wanting to hear more from Derecho.

As Perfect, Like You begins to unfold, Jo begins to sound like Kate Bush. She’s no ordinary vocalist. She sounds classically trained.  Combining drama, power and emotion, she delivers a vocal powerhouse. Meanwhile, Derecho create a slice of nineties rock. It has a big, bold, dramatic sound. Jo adds flourishes of keyboards. They add a contrast, while a machine gun guitar is unleashed. Later, the rhythm section go from mixing drama and power, to helping create a melancholy backdrop. This is the perfect accompaniment to Jo on this evocative, cinematic track.

Stabs of guitar accompany Jo’s tough vocal on Bystander. As she struts her way through the lyrics, you wonder if it’s bravado? A fusion of punk and rock, ratty drums and machine gun drums accompany Jo. Bassist Marc Zyngier is Derecho’s Harry Potter. Again, his bass cast a spell over listeners. With its tough, edgy, everyman sound, this anthemic track is bound to be a crowd pleaser.

Chiming, funky, wistful guitars join meandering, slapped bass on Void. Jo’s voice is tender, full of emotion, frustration and  confusion. Soon, like the arrangement, Jo’s vocal grows in power. Thunderous guitars drive the arrangement along to a crescendo. Then when things calm down, Derecho mix funk and soul. The soul comes courtesy of Jo’s breathy vocal, which sounds not unlike Sharleen Spitteri of Texas. Good as this track is, and I like it a lot, I’d like to her the thunderous guitars taken out. Then the track would become much more laid-back, mellow and soulful.

December sees Derecho kick loose. They unleash blistering guitars, while the rhythm section drive the arrangement along. Jo’s vocal is best described as powerhouse. It’s no hold barred. That’s the case with every member of the band. Especially guitarist Mike Wheatley. He’s like a gunslinger. In his hands, the guitar comes to life. He unleashes its potential. With a bit of stray feedback thrown in, he’s ying to Jo’s yang. They’re a formidable partnership, as December shows.

Lonely Girl sees a change in sound. Just a lone acoustic guitar accompanies Jo. Her pensive, wistful vocal allows us to hear another side of Jo, as she sings some of her best lyrics. They’ve a strong narrative and a cinematic quality. The arrangement meanders along, the lyrics coming to life. Jo paints pictures. They unfold before your eyes. With an understated sound, Lonely Girl is Cofffee and Disruption’s highlight. It’s also a side of Derecho I’d like to hear more of. 

Crash and Burn sees yet another side of Derecho. It’s almost folk rock. The arrangement gradually unfolds. Just a piano, meandering bass, guitar and drums accompany Jo’s heartfelt, urgent vocal. Emotion fills her vocal as she sings “I’ll Crash and Burn like a car.” With the rhythm section providing a 4/4 beat, intricate chiming guitars weave in and out of the arrangement. What captures your attention is Jo’s vocal. It’s at the heart of this hook-laden track’s success.

This Mask sees a return to the sound of Lonely Girl. The tempo is slower and a piano plays a more prominent role. I’m reminded of Kate Bush again. Drums keep the beat, while the probing bass cuts through the arrangement. Some rocky guitars are added. Their raison d’être is dramatic effect. After that, Jo’s thoughtful, tender vocal takes charge of the drama. That’s before a blistering guitar solo is unleashed. Mike Wheatley sets the scene for Jo’s vocal, as the track heads to its wistful ending.

Alibi sees the bass and guitar go toe-to-toe before Jo’s coquettish, breathy vocal enters. Her vocal is enveloped by guitars and the rhythm section. Again, Jo’s vocal reminds me of Kate Bush as it veers between tender, feisty and sassy. Meanwhile, the arrangement has a classic rock sound. Later, Jo’s cooing and scatted vocal soars above the rocky arrangement. The result is a dramatic and melodic slice of classic rock where Derecho don’t ration the hooks.

The Silence closes Coffee and Disruption. From an understated arrangement, quickly, a pounding, melodic rock track unfolds. Flourishes of keyboards provide the perfect foil to Derecho, who become a power trio. Mike unleashes machine gun guitar licks. The drums have a “ratty” nineties sound and provide the heartbeat. Then there’s Jo’s vocal. It’s a mixture of emotion, energy and enthusiasm. She’s determined to close Coffee and Disruption on a high, and does so, with a slice of indie rock.

Derecho’s sophomore album, Coffee and Disruption, is an old school album. It features just ten tracks. They’d fit on an old vinyl album. That’s fitting, given Derecho are old school band. Their music is a fusion of classic rock, indie rock, post punk and punk. That describes most of the music on Coffee and Disruption. Sometimes, classic rock and punk collides head on. An example of this is the album opener Remembered. This is a sound Derecho return to. However, they’re no one trick pony.

There’s also brief diversions down avenues marked funk and soul. Then there’s Lonely Girl. It shows a side of Derecho I’d like to hear much more of. During that track, Jo’s vocal and piano playing takes centre-stage. She delivers  a mesmeric and captivating performance. Lonely Girl reinforces how important Jo is to Derecho. First of all, there’s that voice. Jo sounds like a modern day Kate Bush. The songs she wrote come to life. Their subtleties and nuances unfold. Soon, you’re spell bound and captivated. Especially on tracks like Lonely Girl, Crash and Burn and This Mask. She comes into her own. Having said that, Derecho aren’t a one man band.

There’s guitar hero Mike Wheatley. He’s the perfect foil for Jo’s vocal. In his hands, the guitar comes to life. He unleashes some blistering licks that are an important part of Derecho’s sound. Then there’s Derecho’s Harry Potter, Marc Zyngier. He casts spells with his bass. Finally, there drummer Mark Ellis. Whether its classic rock or a ratty nineties sound, he can make it happen. Together, the four members of Derecho are like a musical A-Team. They too, love it when a plan comes together. That was the case with Derecho’s sophomore album Coffee and Disruption.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: