Like The xx, Love Inks are dripping with icy cool but Getintothis’ Jon Davies finds them emotionally bereft on a night when Liverpool talent struggles to whip up a storm in the Tunnels.
Over the past year or so Harvest Sun have developed a solid gig history of big names nationally and internationally, acts like Neon Indian, Micah P. Hinson, Wooden Shjips and Edwyn Collins have headed some of their bigger nights, as well as championing local talent like Stealing Sheep and Ticks.
This show holds a similar formula, with similar result.
Opening acts Terra Alpha and All We Are could have easily been the same band, I think one band had a Moe Tucker percussion set up and the other had a full drum kit, but I genuinely forget which. It’s kind of what you expect from a lot of Liverpudlian music, breezy, jaunty and dare I say offensively nice.
The omnipresent shadow of The Beatles and The La’s remain over the two, it’s just general fodder, and doesn’t help that similar indie music was played in between the bands. I’m sure their music would shift a few car insurance deals, though.
The band I was here for tonight was the return of one of Liverpool’s finest new acts, Sun Drums. On paper as well as on the night they stuck out like a sore thumb, their style of post-dubstep etherea is a thousand miles away from the previous acts, as well as their Fleet Foxes-ey work when they were known as Bagheera.
It’s quite a lot to get to grips with, not only for the audience but also for the sound engineer; the trio’s tonal spectrum and textural makes everyone else decidedly monochromatic, but it’s their own worst enemy.
It’s been a while since they’ve played live, and their onstage frailty was on display at times, but through this you could hear some truly breathtaking moments in their set. Vocal harmonies soar through the murky hiss, the softest synth sounds brush up against sub-bass textures, in a Wild Beasts meets James Blake sort of way.
However for most of the set it looked like Sun Drums were battling against a poor sound system as well as their own equipment, which was laid bare by their final track, with We Came Out Like Tigers singer Simon Barr providing vocals, which were simply too high in the mix and out of character with the rest of the set.
Having dedicated much of their time producing their epic self-titled EP, the band need more shows to equal their potential.
But after all the chin stroking we return to normal service. Love Inks‘ music is smooth and cool, all too knowingly so.
You can hear elements of Warpaint and Fleetwood Mac, but I suppose the closest cousin is The xx.
Unfortunately unlike The Xx there’s no real individualistic spark, it’s minimal but not heartbreakingly sparse, quiet but not really captivating, and ultimately misses the romantic innocence laced in The Xx’s music.
The only thing that stuck with me during their set was lead singer Sherry LeBlanc cutting a frustrated figure calling for the audience to go outside and have a smoke instead of chatting through their set. I suppose that’s what you get when your music is so nonchalant.