To be a fan of Poor Rich Boy is to admire the details. Much of the band’s output consists of serene acoustic guitars and drifting melodies that occasionally catch, like flyaway clothes pegged to a washing line. Their singles from forthcoming album ‘Almost Tuesday’ have been in a similar vein: Thistle carried Umer Khan’s vocals over a repetitive and simple guitar refrain. Cereal Killer was even more minimalist, embellishing a simple acoustic line with beautiful shimmering guitar work that sounded straight out of Sigur Ros’ Valtari.
Almost Tuesday begins with another delicious fingerpicked riff with Umer Khan’s breathy vocals hanging above. Fans of Sufjan Stevens will feel at home here. But it’s the mid-track change up that signals a fresh and exciting new direction for the band.
Zain Ahsan’s production is stellar. Synths spiral into the mix, inspired by the 80’s throwback sound of fellow Lahore artist Janoobi Khargosh. The drums take on a jazzy vibe, heavy on the hi-hats and there’s a fantastic bassline that functions as a spine for the sequence, stapling the neo-psychadelic influence with the Poor Rich Boy sound, preventing everything from falling apart.
Umer Khan’s lyrics prove, once again, to be rich and open to interpretation. In keeping with the other singles from the album, Khan juxtaposes ominous images of violence or threat with romance and social interaction. The girl who lives down the lane is immediately introduced with the ‘kiss of a silver knife’. In Cereal Killer, Khan wonders if he can ‘break the bulb in your brain’. Or how about the line in Thistle, where a girl tells him ‘you heart will be stomped on’. For Poor Rich Boy these interactions, whether romantic or otherwise, are theatres of trauma. Khan treats them like eggshells, moving among people as though moving through a minefield. A casual smile is a practiced art, perhaps nothing is genuine…
With Almost Tuesday, not only do Poor Rich Boy diversify their sonic palette, but they also move forwards towards a sound that fizzes with promise. It’s almost Tuesday, sings Umer Khan, and even though we don’t really know what that means, it sounds promising as hell.