El Rey HQ – High Octane Baby

Hot on the heels of the banging singles Sunshine Honey Blow and Holy Water, Irish/Manchester based musician El Rey HQ (formally with King Kartel) is keeping the momentum and the beats going with his latest January 2022 release High Octane Baby.

Following the inclusion of El Rey HQ’s Holy Water in the Big in 2022 This Feeling vinyl compilation, and a few high octane last minute gigs of his own this month supporting Red Rum Club, I by coincidence caught up with Hugh (El Rey HQ) at the Huddersfield Parish in the week. He told me he hadn’t originally intended to release this track and it was an older number that has enjoyed a bit of a rewrite and a refresh.

High Octane Baby is a classic hymn to the pursuit of getting smashed, high and having a good time with someone. Dear reader, I’ve pretty much more or less devoted a lifetime to this objective, although both El Rey and I were also admiring those folk who can manage to regularly party out without getting smashed.

The sound production, and the pretty but sparce musical backing feels fresh, and I think that slight edge to the sound adds to the raw honesty in the track. I’m certainly no fan of tracks that are over polished to the point where their individuality has been buried. I’m pleased to report there is character in spades in High Octane Baby.

I know El Rey HQ is friends with the insanely talented Jack Jones and those Trampolene guys, and I do have to say there is something of that playful Trampolene whimsy and style in High Octane Baby. Certainly fans of the latter will find a lot to enjoy in the former, as will anyone into bouncing, good time indie. El Rey HQ solo is quickly becoming a master of the lively upbeat banger, and he has brought out a consistently high quality series of tracks.

I’m more than a little gutted to be missing next weekend’s This Feeling Big in 2022 event at the Bread Shed in Manchester next Friday (28 January). Not only is El Rey on it, there are no less than 8 class acts: Rolla, The Facades, The Ruby Tuesdays, The Underclass, Rosellas, Shade and The Lilacs making up a perfect octagon of sound.

Chris R


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