Sometime in the late '60s probably around the time The Beatles decided to grow moustaches rock and roll started to really ponder the big ideas in life. Songs got longer, lyrics more impenetrable, brows more furrowed and before you knew it Rick Wakeman was staging a musical about King Arthur on ice. Of course, that's not to say there's no place for a bit of intellectualising in music. It's just that sometimes the best music bypasses the brain and hits you straight in the gut. You don't need a degree in classical literature to fully 'understand' Boredom by Buzzcocks, for instance. Try as you might, there's no hidden meaning to unlock in Sheena Is A Punk Rocker.
"The stuff that inspires me has to be immediate," says The Bohicas' singer Dominic McGuinness, sipping a pint after the band's residency at infamous Soho den, The Social. "I haven't got the patience or the brains to absorb and digest a great book or a clever film. It has to be like [clicks fingers] a baseball bat. That's what we try to do with The Bohicas. It's immediate. A series of sucker punches."
The Bohicas are rock and roll painted in vivid primary colours. Hi def, loud, fast, shiny and above all fun. A barrage of killer hooks, razor blade riffs and choruses that slap you in the face, grab your hand and lead you onto the dance floor. All shot through with pulp imagery torn from the pages of a graphic novel. Close your eyes and you can see the Cadillac taillights speeding off through the smoke from a manhole cover and the toothpick between the jaws of a tough-guy anti-hero, drinking his girl right off of his mind.
"I love Sin City and [graphic artist] Frank Miller. All his bullshit detective stuff. It's hilarious, especially when a wimp like me is writing about it," smiles McGuinness. "It's more exciting than your real life. All that stuff that doesn't actually exist anywhere. Well, not in Hainault anyway. In Hainault you could sing about a hedge and a traffic cone..."
The Bohicas' story begins in Essex where, as schoolmates, McGuinness, drummer Brendan Heaney and guitarist Dom John ("Bass players didn't exist in our school," says Heaney) first came together over a love of The Beatles, The Kinks, Ray Charles and the new wave of guitar bands who emerged at the start of the century after the scrag ends of Britpop had finally limped off.
With John drifting to University, Heaney and McGuinness plied their trade as scuzzy indie duo Swanton Bombs for a few years. It was only when John returned and they met Adrian Acolatse playing bass for McGuinness' older brother Eugene in 2013 that things started to cement ("Me and Dominic spent the day together and it was immediately apparent that we had the same musical sensibilities," recalls the bassist). As a four piece playing together they quickly discovered what they did best: Short, sharp bursts of ludicrously melodic, snarling guitar pop that hits you like a thunderbolt. Stuff that makes you want to move rather than stroke your chin.
"We're something to go out and watch," notes Heaney. "You go out to be entertained. You don't want to think, 'Oh wow, that guy was so subtle on stage'. We're quite brash in a good way."
With a name in place and a formative early recording session with Essex guitar hero Graham Coxon under their belt, their first gig was attended by Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos who was so impressed he offered them a support slot in Ibiza. Their second ever gig, then, took place poolside at a Balearic Islands hotel while pissed-up Brits leaned out their balconies to listen.
"Everyone was dancing," recalls John. "None of them had heard any of our songs, we hadn't released anything yet. It was weird. They were doing this shuffle. The Bohicas shuffle."
The Bohicas' first two singles the B-Movie rush of XXX and Swarm's hornet in a lift wail had a similarly instantaneous effect, leading the band to play to audiences across the globe who went bat shit mental for them despite the fact that they'd only heard those two songs.
Not that that will be an issue for much longer. The Making Of lands sucker punch after sucker punch. From To Die For's curled-lip swagger to the buzzsaw guitar lines of Upside Down And Inside Out via the pure pop pleasures of Only You and Nirvana-like growl of Red Raw, it's a full clip of electrifying tunes and crackling 21st Century rock and roll.
Guitars crunch and prowl with intent around the whip-crack of Heaney's snare drum as the band's four-way harmonies swoop in like dive bombers to light up McGuinness' dazzling melodic lines. It's a precision-tooled approach where every inch of the record is covered by an ace-in-the-hole hook, neat twist or irresistible melody. All delivered with fizzling clarity and without an ounce of fat it sight.
"It's not a lo-fi mentality, it's hi-fi," note McGuinness. "Lo-fi is pointless, it's going out of your way to sound shit. It's supposed to be crystal clear and just slap you in the face like, Splat."
The Bohicas have you in their crosshairs and resistance is futile. It's a no brainer.