Splashh might be based in Hackney but their founding members come from the other side of the globe. Toto Vivian and Sasha Carlson, an Aussie and a Kiwi respectively, formed Splashh in February last year, since when they’ve wasted no time in writing songs and playing shows. They’ve now expanded to a four-piece with the addition of Thomas Beal and Jacob Moore (forming the rhythm section).
The title of their debut LP, Comfort, serves as a pretty good self-description. They announce themselves in buzzy fashion with Headspins, full of grungey guitars wrapped in DIY production. You know what you’re going to get for the following nine tracks – expectations aren’t being challenged – but, whilst they don’t break new ground, they are highly enjoyable to listen to. The aesthetic is nothing new but it is so pleasing to the ears that you don’t mind if another band adopts this approach. Splashh are genuinely lo-fi – tracks were recorded in Vivian’s Hackney bedroom.
If its jangly pop you require, look no further than the breezy Need It or Lost Your Cool, whilst Lemonade and All I Wanna Do are steady and reliable. Their most ambitious moment, if it can be called that, is Green & Blue. The introduction is performed by what sounds like a small, weedy, battered polyphonic keyboard before gradually unfurling itself into something that is bigger than the sum of its parts.
Two songs emerge as the standouts. The main melody that dominates Vacation sounds like it’s being played underwater but once that subsides a remarkably loud and brash chorus breaks in, with Sasha Carlson bellowing out “I want to go where nobody knows” with all the conviction of someone wanting escape and adventure. This is followed by the much shorter, bouncier and frenetic So Young, which feels in danger of crashing towards the end (a la early Cloud Nothings) just because it’s so difficult to catch your breath.
There’s room for them to grow and expand as a group but it’s probably not the first thing that’ll come to their minds on the follow-up. Instead, one gets the sense that the formula of “will this get people to jump up and down?” is what they’ll keep to until their last notes ring out. Splashh have done what their equally fresh-faced contemporaries have tried to do: make an exciting debut. Their charm is that they don’t seem to give a monkey’s as to whether or not this propels them to stardom. Instead, they make playing in a band sound like fun.