Saturday, June 26, 2010
Let’s get this out of the way right now: yes, these bands are united by a love of big swirly guitar sounds and sure they are all indebted at least a little to the lush cacophonies created by sonic pioneers Kevin Shields and Robin Guthrie, but never does this get in the way of a glorious gig or suggest a lack of originality in composition. Meditations on a sound or field of sounds when played by people who understand it well, invariably brings a personality into the music as much as a trained jazz pianist and tonight’s lineup suggests the shoegaze well is far from dry.
Thieves are a new group who channel that early-90s British sound to glorious ends. Balancing fury and beauty, the atonal and tonal, climbing and falling basslines, riffs and melodies from chugging verses, to bridges that build up and choruses that burst into widescreen give a lot to like. Vocals sit back in the mix but winding melodies shine through, most commonly from the bright 12-string guitar of Seb Hammond, though it’s singer and guitarist Patrick Robinson who leads the charge through the songs. Penultimate track Almost Over hints at the sky-carving glory this band – still in early days - are capable of.
Iowa are an odd group, with a name suggesting cornfields and Slipknot that thankfully have nothing to do with either, and everything to do with making riff-heavy Dinosaur Jr/Swervedriver–influenced sounds that ricochet around the low-ceiling and grubby walls of Cherry Bar. Songs chug and burn and the melodies slide out of layer after layer of meticulously crafted guitar, when songs slow and drag, the sounds and details crackle to life with a Crazy Horse-like glow and things get very nice.
Launching their first EP and in no uncertain terms owning the evening are Three Month Sunset, a band who has coalesced around the loud and ‘beauty-as-terror’ guitar of Gabriel Lewis. Lights off, a projector beam is trained on the band, monochromatic kaleidoscopic images play as the shimmering guitar, and dual-bass throb of the band begins soon moves to a cruising altitude.
When music is as loud and carefully constructed as this, the mid-gig addition of clashing vocal harmonies seem incongruous. On record, the singing is gorgeous; here the music is so loud pitching must be a problem. The EP’s opening track No Horizon is still a mesmerising triumph though and the singing barely detracts from the brilliance herein. Watch this space, Three Month Sunset are likely to set it on fire.