New Kubra Commander Track Conjures Manchester Sound and Credo

Kubra Commander’s new Brit-rock-style romp is as hypnotic as it is infectious. It leaves you defenseless against its blistering charms. A triumph in both songcraft and studio work.

It’s no accident “Garden Bistro” sounds vaguely ‘90s Manchester.

The Kubra Commander boys dig that vibe: that reverb-laden overdrive that not so muchpaints the walls but washes it. It has neither the anarchic cheek of New York, nor the existentialist desolation of Seattle. But no matter: there’s swagger and groove in hearty doses, and people who swear by mid-career Oasis and latter-era Stone Roses will surely have reason to be roped in.

Cover Art by Geraldine Sy

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As with their 2020 single “The Now,” this new KC banger is an exquisite bit of audio playacting, if you may. In other words, not only does “Garden Bistro” sound great, it is also an adroit bit of studio artistry (which is really all we’re left with these days, if I’m being honest).

On top of the usual personnel—singer-guitarist J. Martino Ovido, synth player Lynel Sucalit, guitarist Joko Nozawa, bassist Jah Acab, and drummer Tim Williams—Kubra also enlisted Jeremy Rigodon to program percs, on top of manning the board at Dirty Jones. And for a densely layered track such as this, that’s certainly no walk in the park.Topically, the band says, “[It’s] about trying to pursue the beautiful things in the world despite [its] many uncertainties.” And man, if this is the sound of coping—not mopey wrist-slasher singer-songwriter fare, not overwrought karaoke-worthy balladry—then count me in.

All photos by Perci Mansueto

“Garden” was originally built on riffage before yielding to soundscape architecture, a process that took the better part of two years (and a pandemic). It is yet another stab at the psych-leaning direction Ovido and company want to traverse for this phase in their as-yet short history (i.e., their Lilystars era, if you will), and the signs are already looking bright.

“Take my hand and let’s roll, baby / Believe me, we’re cool like that.”

I mean, why not.

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