‘MABGATE’ serves as the latest, self-titled offering from the versatile Leeds-based outfit.
Formerly known as The Mabgate Organ Trio, what’s initially surprising about the band’s genesis is that while creativity and the arts suffered from the extraordinary circumstances where face masks, social distancing, excessive amounts of hand sanitizer, home schooling and Zoom-based interactions almost became our new “normal”, the dreaded quarantine period (whose dark shadow still looms heavily over us all) actually brought MABGATE’s original trio together affording them the time and space to begin their collective journey.
Band members including guitarist Ed Allen, Nico Widdowson on keyboards and Richard Moulton on drums were able to collaborate in the basement of their shared accommodation, honing and perfecting the music that would go on to formulate their debut release. ‘From The Mabgate Basement’ (Tight Lines, 2020) proved a fantastic showcase for the trio’s remarkable versatility and impassioned performances with tracks like the breakbeats bliss of ‘Fives’ and the appropriately sinister undertones of the era-referential ‘Hands:Face’ earning the group waves of well-deserved praise and plaudits.
Now, with quarantine restrictions lifted, the new ‘MABGATE’ EP in turn also allows the collective to rewrite what was already a creatively satisfying formula in a bid to broaden the scope of their music. While still using their lush, high-energy and soul-infused soundscapes as a launch pad, the collective confidently infuse varying styles and genres like the minor twinges of psychedelic soul and stronger nods towards their affections for jazz.
The line-up for the project also expands to cater for more artists like saxophonist Alex Fisher and bass clarinetist Joel Stedman who bring exciting new dimensions to the MABGATE sound with ‘Inline’ serving as an excellent example of a track enhanced beautifully through these additional contributions. Vocalist August Charles exudes charm and charisma on ‘Tell It How I See It’ creating scintillating chemistry with MABGATE which will hopefully lead to more collaborations between the two factions. [On a side note, Charles can also boast a series of suave alternative/neo-soul releases in his own right which are well on the way to seeing the rise of his own star.] And while discussing album high points, it would be criminal not to cite the project’s infectious and rousing lead single, ‘I Asked’, which may very well be the gleaming gem amongst the treasure chest that is ‘MABGATE’.
The new EP provides an inspired evolution of the trio’s sound and ‘MABGATE’ owes so much to the imagination and personality that just beams through the music – wonderfully presented with crisp performances all enriched by its passion for a gloriously dusty analog aesthetic.