The debut album from Mono Club is an easy going listen. One that’s full of promise and charm and an easy on the ear treat for listeners. There’s a clean-cut attitude throughout Sky High & Submarine that invites you in instead of inviting itself in. The music comes with a sense of politeness, one that’ll initially win you over. Mono Club dabble with very kind sounding instrumentation and have a good ear for detail making their debut something equal parts charming, rich and rewarding.
Turbowolf’s third album, The Free Life, is a very enjoyable snapshot of distilled chaos. They’ve created a beast that gets let loose and flails around on recording, a great record to throw yourself about in your bedroom to. Their first, self-titled album from 2011 tapped into a sound which would later be popularised in the UK by Royal Blood. Their second album, Two Hands, was them broadening their influences and experimenting with ideas and adding tinges of electronica to their sound. The Free Life isn’t perhaps as willing to dare or stretch their formula further, but it is the most distilled version of both these records and the band sound at their most concise.
Alvvays have blown up even further since the release of last year’s Antisocialites. The band were always on a strong trajectory and, let’s face it, indie-pop fame and success were always coming for them. Alvvays are one of today’s most essential indie-pop bands, reigniting a flame in a genre that was once inescapable ten years ago that has now taken a back-seat. Alvvays are very much the frontrunners in their domain. They’re a band full of riffs, great production, lyrics and fantastic singing. Alvvays are a full package, people don’t like them just for one trait in their sound, their music is immersive, infectious and something that comes with a wink and a smile.
Being at Jen Cloher’s show made me feel like a teenager again and I’ve never had that before. She’s an exciting figure to watch and her music gets under your skin. Some of her songs sound like frustration, these however are Jen’s most satisfying. The way she communicates this for instance in ‘Shoegazers’ feels like bleeding an emotional radiator. There’s this kind of feeling underlying many of her songs, quite subtly but you get something out of it. Almost through her songs you get to vent something yourself.
Ought’s third album is likely to divide fans on a first listen. On Room Inside The World Tim Darcy expels the sneeze that was brewing on 2015’s Sun Coming Down and lets out a soulful bellow. Room Inside The World sees Ought’s sound inverted in on itself going from the brittle and jagged to something thick and deep. The new wave-influenced sound is something which doesn’t clone or pastiche. The songwriting remains familiar to Ought, only this time around it’s in a new set of clothes.
The Orielles origin story is one that’s such a textbook indie band forming story I’m sure many others would like to pretend they had a similar story. Sisters Sid and Esme Hand-Halford met Henry at a house party and formed a band on the same night whilst bonding over an old piano. After meeting, they formed The Orielles and went on to sign to Art is Hard and Circa, they then leaped to Heavenly Records for the release of their debut. They’re a band that have all the cool tropes of being in an indie band without any of the nonsense, it all just comes naturally to them. Their debut was quietly anticipated by much of the music industry as well as an extremely dedicated following. Their fans see the start of something massive: they see the band’s success and want to be there for the beginning.
Wild Front’s show tonight also doubles up as an informal label showcase from Chalkpit Records. The line-up showcases their pop arsenal in the form of Wild Front, Submariner and Nakamarra. Each band are enjoyable to watch and clearly have a lot of potential. Every act was well rounded and polished and clearly have a lot of potential, sounding as sleek on stage as they would in the studio.
They Might Be Giants haven’t really stopped since they started all those years ago. I Like Fun marks their 20th album release and they show no signs of stopping. It’s a good omen that I Like Fun was recorded in the same studio as their definitive album Flood. 2018 will also see the return of their famous Dial-A-Song which is due to launch soon after this release. I Like Fun stays true to the promise in the album’s title. It’s an album that’s refreshing, carefree and ultimately a very fun record to listen to.
Let’s be honest, Mac DeMarco is really at the top of his game these days both on stage and in the studio. He’s aware of his triumph as well, quite frankly it’s unavoidable. He’s gotten to the point where he has his own cult of Mac, so to speak. His fans adore him for all his goofy bum-chic charm. They see him as one of themselves and try to emulate the qualities they see in him. The Dome almost looks like a Mac DeMarco costume party and the sell-out crowd is here to see their spiritual king. It really does rub off on you though. I do consider myself a big fan anyway but nowhere near as dedicated as the audience tonight. You can’t help but get swept up in the excitement and it really does feel like a superstar has walked out on stage.
When Captain Haddock coined the phrase “Thundering Typhoons!” I’m sure he didn’t mean it to work in relation to a Metz gig. His famous phrase is the best way of describing them live though. Bands like METZ make sense when you see them live. It comes down to the impact the show makes and it’s one to remove any cobwebs in your system. I’ve been a fan of Metz for a long time now and have always said the same, you need to see them to get it. It’s not that their records don’t have anything special to them, they really do. Their latest album Strange Peace may be one of their best yet but, for me, I never quite clicked with Metz until I first saw them. They’re a band that put everything into their live show, they’re all in good shape and you can see why. Their light shirts soon turn dark and halfway through their set they look like they’ve just come out of the shower.