Essex four-piece The Bohicas are very clear in their own mind about what genre they belong to; they are a rock ‘n’ roll band pure and simple. Ever since Dominic McGuinness (vocals), Brendan Heaney (drums) and Dominic John (guitar) came together as school mates over their shared love of The Beatles and The Kinks – as well as acts such as Kings Of Leon and The Strokes from the early 2000s – it was clear what direction they would be going in.
Things really started to click into place for the band, previously known as Swanton Bomb, just over three years ago when bassist Ady Acolatse became the final piece of the jigsaw. The quartet started performing small venues around London as The Bohicas – a military slang term meaning “Bend over – here it comes again” – before the success of their double A-side XXX and Swarm in Australia resulted in a tour Down Under.
Soon the band were being touted as ‘Ones to Watch’ and playing alongside Franz Ferdinand – another band formed in the early noughties. With their reputation growing and new single To Die For getting regular airplay, The Bohicas are now ready to release their debut album, The Making Of, which makes its intentions clear from the chugging guitar riff that begins opener I Do It For Your Love.
“Hey, I’ve been down for way too long,” sings McGuinness in his deep drawl, as crashing guitars and a thumping beat kicks in. It features the sort of confident swagger to be expected of a rock band like The Bohicas – backing up the leather jacket look that they are regularly pictured in – but it lacks the frantic urgency of their breakthrough singles. This is made up for on To Die For, though, with its meaty guitar hook and catchy chorus.
Lyrically, McGuinness is not exactly Alex Turner, but manages to capture the rockstar lifestyle, as he sings: “Woke up in A&E with an IOU/ I reversed the realms of my mind.” The band’s direct sound continues with Girlfriend, with its simple, repetitive beat and strutting riff laying the foundations for the lead man’s lyrics about chasing a girl (“And you still won’t pick up the phone/ location unknown/ where do you go?”).
The album’s title track is more of the same, with its mid-tempo guitar riff and rumbling beat taking a while to move out of second gear. In fact, The Bohicas only really start to find their groove during the LP’s middle section, with Where You At initiating a string of dancefloor fillers. The song’s immediacy and head-banging chorus is exactly what made them such an attractive prospect to start with.
It is suitably followed by the tracks that got The Bohicas in the position they are now, with XXX and Swarm demonstrating the sort of raw energy that The Making Of is sorely lacking throughout the rest of its runtime. The former, in particular, possesses a stinging guitar riff that is exhilarating, while Swarm is just as rapid. Yet any momentum built up is quickly dispersed by Red Raw, which sounds an awful lot like Nirvana’s Lithium.
Upside Down And Inside Out does an admirable job of trying to wrestle back the initiative, while Somehow You Know What I Mean closes the record with a flourish. Yet for all of its merits, The Bohicas’ debut does not reach the heights of an Is This It? or Youth and Young Manhood. There is clearly potential there and The Making Of is a solid first record, but it is just one that is unlikely to live long in the memory.