Dynamic duos and futuristic fantastic French vibes are the order of play on Day Two at Liverpool Sound City, Getintothis’ Andy Kelly finds his new favourite band.
Down in the basement at Korova, things don’t look promising for our Gallic visitors Orval Carlos Sibelius.
The keyboardist has her fingers in her ears in mock pain during the last-minute soundcheck, a man in brown leather is stomping the floor wielding a large trombone and people are giving those sort of shrugs which seem to be a precursor to imminent disaster.
And then suddenly they start playing and the world is a better place.
They’re led by Alex Monneau, a man who looks like he’s dropped straight out of a Parisian B-movie and who was most probably born with a Gitane hanging from his lower lip. Clad in the night’s best shirt (a claret and blue patchwork since you ask) I’m putting him straight on my potential genius list.
The band performs the impossible, by actually making me think that every band should be forced to have compulsory trombone in their line-up.
They start with a fantastic instrumental mash-up which is as good an introduction to their description-defying sound as we’re likely to get.
There’s a definite futuristic vibe, especially as Monneau tends to feed his vocal through some sort of encoder, as if the Open University’s house band has wandered into some backwater village fete and told them stories of the wonderful world beyond.
I’m genuinely sad when – all too soon – it’s over.
If there’s a theme at this year’s Sound City, I’m making it the rise of the two-piece and earlier at Factory, the latest to cross my path Dolomite Minor are another making a big noise with just a single guitar and drums.
They’ve got an instantly recognisable classic rock sound while the vocal has a fuzzy, slackerish vibe perhaps with a hint of J Mascis about it. It’s a – pardon the pun – rock steady set but I just wonder whether they can make themselves stand out from the crowd enough to really win hearts.
Fickle Friends live at the Kazimier
I get a double dose of indie pop in the form of Brighton’s Fickle Friends (Kazimier) and Denver’s Tennis (Factory) and it’s Fickle Friends who take the honours for me.
Led by front woman Natassja Shiner they go down well with a decent Kaz crowd and remind me occasionally of top Aussie posters Allo Darlin‘.
To make sure we don’t think they’re twee they’re selling T-shirts with cats on them and yarns of wool – ‘who doesn’t like cats?’ asks the drummer before they finish with the rather wonderful Swim, a song which makes you yearn for the past summers of youth.
I’m not sure why anyone would call their band Tennis other than to get a few extra cheap Google hits. But husband and wife duo Patrick and Alaina have settled on it and no doubt have had every reviewer under the sun make them pay for it with a series of poor puns – but they did ask for it so here goes!
The thing with these types of bands are that I want them to not just to get my foot tapping but to leave my spine tingling, my heart breaking and mending again, my hopes soaring, my fears realised or averted, my head filled with a chorus that just won’t leave it alone.
Tennis I’m afraid do none of these things. They’re a lazy forehand return when I want a thrilling backspin lob, a Buster Mottram when I want a silky Roger Federer, a mid-season ATP event when I want the glory of the majors. I don’t hang around for any tie-break.
I don’t see as much of Woman’s Hour in the Kaz as I’d like but it’s enough to make me think that their melancholy-laced synths are worthy of a lot more investigation.
Hibou live at the Shipping Forecast
They give their songs space to breathe, manage a cover of Dancing in the Dark which even Bruce might have given the thumbs-up to and in singer Fiona Burgess have someone who exudes a rather effortless cool. Promising.
And finally a brief word for Hibou, who I catch rather by accident (surely what Sound City is all about) in the cellar of the Shipping Forecast, young Americans making a glorious jangly bracket and having a lot of fun doing it.
Pictures by Getintothis‘ Tom Adam.
Further reading on Getintothis
Liverpool Sound City 2014 Review: Day Two Round Up.
Liverpool Sound City 2014 Review: Day One Round Up.
* Liverpool Sound City 2014: Top 10 Merseyside bands to watch
* Liverpool Sound City 2014: Top 10 international bands to watch.
* Liverpool Sound City 2014: Top 10 UK bands to watch.
* Liverpool Sound City 2014: Getintothis‘ guide to the venues.
* Liverpool Sound City 2014: Things to do off the beaten track.
* John Cale – the grit in the oyster that shaped the sound we worship today.
* Liverpool Sound City 2014: Revo‘s routeplanner – the insider’s guide.
*Liverpool Sound City 2014: Getintothis presents Jon Hopkins and stellar Merseyside show at Nation.
* Liverpool Sound City 2014: Fringe events and John Peel World Cup revealed.
* Liverpool Sound City 2014: The Hold Steady ready to bear their teeth.
* Liverpool Sound City 2014 – a Getintothis festival playlist.
* Liverpool Sound City 2014 add The Kooks to festival bill.
* Liverpool Sound City 2014: He used to come round wearing make up and strange Japanese Kimono clothing – David Pichilingi.
* Liverpool Sound City 2014: Jon Hopkins, Albert Hammond Jnr, Drenge and more for May festival.
* Liverpool Sound City 2014 announce headliners Kodaline plus Gruff Rhys and Fuck Buttons for May festival
* Liverpool Sound City 2014: John Cale and Thurston Moore head up Conference speakers
* Liverpool Sound City 2014 reveal football, music and style themes
* Liverpool Sound City 2013: Top 10 bands and review round up of the festival