A review of Fenfulhi’s Jam Room EP

fenfulhi ep

The recent EP dropped by Fenfulhi is noteworthy for two reasons. One: it is an EP that involves some band members of Little Faratas n’ Monkey (LFM) and two: it offers a candid portrait of some incredible musicians in their element.

In keeping with the punk ethos, Fenfulhi’s product is not refined – their stated mission was to capture the energy of the ‘jam room’, which for those who wish to know is the recording space of Kushehnooney.

And let this be said: not all music needs to be serious, it is perfectly OK to have fun in the studio and put one out there for public consumption, especially if you have the credentials of being part of a musical phenomenon.

That aside, having fun is important even when you’re creating serious stuff, because if it feels strenuous and joyless, it will show. I have heard difficult albums though, Humblebakari’s Aniya comes to mind, also Kushehnooney’s Lah. Not easy listening by any means, especially the first – they are harrowing but musically they flow.

And so does the Jam Room EP. It’s extremely fluid with Shamin and his partner Stormy exchanging guitar and bass duties and LFM’s lead guitarist manning the drums fairly convincingly. The EP could easily be seen as a nod towards the punk-influenced Kushehnooney, with whom the band shares not just recording space on this project.

The first track Molhuvefaa’s drum pattern is reminiscent of Placebo’s Black Eyed and propels the track forward with brute force. And Shamin’s treated vocals snarkily describe a western-educated subject who is dismissive of everyone else and completely self-absorbed (like yours truly). Molhuvefaa is layered with FX, which might not surprise those familiar with Shamin’s music, and it adds a welcome new dimension to an already muscular song.

Inzaaru is ruthless and laden with threats like you might hear in an exchange between those of different hisaabu. Then in the middle of the track, the tone softens, settling into a jazzy acoustic interlude and solo before jumping right back into the lyrically abrasive but catchy chorus.

Meanwhile, Local Vibes sees the band-that’s-not-a-band at their most ironic, self-reflexive, and perhaps their most experimental. Here they outfit a harmonium with a wah-wah, and sound the clarion call to cast aside tradition, even stopping a beautiful bodu-beru backed passage in the song. It’s a strong number even without these antics but it is clear that some of that trademark LFM slapstick has spilled over.

The EP’s fourth tune is the Kushehnooney cover Fessey, and a weird choice of cover at that, not least because it there’s room to interpret the song as very misogynistic. The song sets an exploding relationship to equally explosive music, and is, to borrow a phrase, completely unhinged. A live version of the original exists on YouTube [link] and trust me, it’s an experience.

The last song of the EP brings another meta moment for Fenfulhi – it’s about a guy who cannot shut up. It is aggressive and playful, better than what some serious bands can offer at their most focused. This is an EP that documents the versatility of a group that is almost at the peak of their powers – even their throwaways have aural value. It’s not difficult to imagine people enjoying Jam Room by this trio about whose origins I am curious and from whom I definitely want more jams.

Aishath Abubakr