By Lucas Arthur, Music Editor
Try me make bops, pure and simple: catchy, feel-good tunes which pack in strutting basslines, retro synths and infectious lyrical hooks to great effect.
Another integral part of the HUBB Records roster, Hector Boogeyman and Bendy Wendy are carving their niche apart from the hauteur of Bristol’s contemporary dance scene, one flamboyant single at a time.
Doubtless, the duo has talent and charisma in spades. Behind the garish shell suits and swimming goggles are Miles Hutchinson & Molly Vivian, two musicians who burst onto the Bristol live scene in 2019 before playing a run of gigs at The Fleece, Crofters Rights and The Old England. In no time at all, Try Me had garnered a local following for their energetic live performances and wacky self-styling - somewhere between 90s eclecticism and charity shop kitsch, with Dali-gone-Tumblr hairstyles thrown in for good measure.
'Hector and Wendy are caricatures of ourselves,' explains Miles – 'the roles allow us to express parts of ourselves that are usually kept under wraps.' It’s nothing new for musicians to adopt on-stage personas, but rarely are those personas quite so vivid. 'They’re also much more interesting', adds Molly – 'Hector and Wendy eat quail eggs on a bed of asparagus for breakfast; we eat wheat biskies.'
Both members have been fledging musicians for some time, though Try Me marked a new direction, towards something fresher and more original. They’re billed as the embodiment of disco punk: disco and funk sensibilities fuse with a punky lyricism, deftly discussing darker topics – inadequacy, insecurity, mortality – with a glossy wit. The intention was always to stand out from the crowd.
Miles played in an indie band before moving to the city: ‘When I came to uni, I started focussing on developing my solo music and trying to make something different - Try Me has definitely been such a great way to achieve that.’ Meanwhile, Molly had already adopted Bendy Wendy (possibly a reference to some classic children’s telly – Devil Fingerrrr… ), a solo project of ‘synthesis induced madness.’
The fusion of the two, plus a hefty dose of inspiration from the likes of the B52s, Chic, Techtronic and other late-century pop-culture icons, would form the basis of their first single, released in 2019. It was uphill from there, with each new release growing the group’s reputation – “Writing good music has always come before performing it, but the two now seem to come hand in hand,” says Miles.
I ask an obvious question: if you could collaborate with anyone ever, who’d it be? ‘The Rubberbandits’ comes the definitive response, an Irish comedy hip-hop duo of some notoriety – 'because they’re good whack.’ The group are a part of that noughties golden era of comedy ensembles like Goldie Looking Chain, who write outrageous songs about farm animals and hash. It’s a collaboration I’d love to see.
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After the pandemic cut short their live routines, however, Try Me turned to the streets. Busking brought limited successes, given Bristol’s riotous post-pub crowds: ‘People just didn't respect us and refused to socially distance when we asked, which resulted in both sets being shut down by police and a warning to not perform again at that time and location.’ ‘The crowds in Bristol's city centre after the infamous 10pm curfew were completely uncontrollable. We had people step on our equipment, grind on us, nag us to play WAP and one guy almost ran off with our busking trolley! It was all pretty crazy.’
Evidently then, Try Me are the duo that Bristol needs but doesn’t really deserve – creating hits for dancing around the kitchen to, whatever the weather, with enough pop-appeal to keep you coming back for more.
Featured: HUBB Records
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