ALBUM: Sabatta – ‘Misfit Music’

Sabatta are a South East London band who have always proven to be difficult to categorise. Their musical influences are endless – from Dead Kennedys to Parliament/Funkadelic. Now, with their sophomore album, aptly-titled Misfit Music, guitarist and vocalist Yinka Oyewole and bassist Debbie Dee have further established their unpredictable sound; a unification of punk rock, heavy metal, psychedelia, grunge, funk, and soul. Why limit yourself?

Oyewole has referred to their sound as “Grunge Soul”, and this is true of the abrasive opening track ‘Rock Star Shit’; a spoken word dissection of the glitz and the glam of the ‘rock star’ lifestyle, “but here’s the life that we be livin’. Take the bus at a quarter to eight, to the Morrisons reduced aisle but it’s too late.”

The raw fusion of riotous guitar riffs and funk-fuelled basslines on ‘Wicked Right Now’ -combined with a punk-rock attitude that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Bad Brains record -solidifies Sabatta’s mission statement: “fuck genres, fuck labels, fuck rules and fuck fitting in”. Just when you think track #2 has reached its logical conclusion, Oyewole breaks the silence with frantic fretwork reminiscent of The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

Slowing the tempo down for ‘Always’, ‘Feel It Too’ and ‘Prized Possession’, Oyewole and Dee invoke the spirits of Black Sabbath and Thin Lizzy. The riffs are raw. The basslines are heavy. But the essential element that binds everything together is the groove. Track #6 (and lead single) ‘Scream of Consciousness’ plays like a dystopian punk anthem, opening with a deliberate drum beat – a slow burn from ex-drummer Adriano Siani – before breaking out into a blaze of fiery, charismatic vocals and thrashing guitar.

‘Innocence’ offers a departure from the heavy – but never from the groove, courtesy of Dee – by further showcasing the versatility of Oyewole’s vocal capabilities, and his proficiency on electric guitar with a melodic solo that closes the track, before ‘Speed of Life’ closes the album with furious intent.

Misfit Music is in-your-face, unapologetic, and diverse. Sabatta have created a sound that is uniquely their own, releasing an LP that is the black sheep of rock and roll. An outsider to the alternative. This is a duo that does not obey usual genre conventions – and fuck it! They never wanted to fit in anyway.

Misfit Music is out now via Blackfriars Entertainment

Ken Wynne