Tryptich is a festival over three days in the middle of January, which you might think is a crazy time to have a festival. Though Brighton has a long tradition of mini-festivals around this time of the year and I’ve been to quite a few over during that time. Despite it being the coldest night of the year so far, The Hope & Ruin was rammed when I turned up at the beginning of the night. It’s a bit of an eclectic mix of bands tonight but I have been looking forward to this show for a while.
Brightonsfinest were impressed by Pavo Pavo’s debut album, 2016’s Young Narrator In The Breakers [https://brightonsfinest.com/music/reviews/album-reviews/pavo-pavo-young-narrator-in-the-breakers/2016/], marking them as one of those rare bands who emerge with a fully-formed sound and aesthetic right from the get go. Our reviewer, Ben Walker, praised the album for its “big ideas” and “delightful melodies”. We were so impressed, in fact, that we had to have the band perform at our Great Escape Festival showcase last year, with those soaring spectral synths and melodies soaring right to the rafters in the beautiful setting of St Mary’s Church.
Well, it didn’t take 2019 too long to produce its first truly brilliant album. “To @jameelajamil [sic] I love you and you are the reason this album exists”, said James Blake about his girlfriend, of his fourth record, Assume Form, and, in many ways, that’s the greatest way to describe the record. It’s a love letter of an album and one that instantly opposes his last record, The Colour in Anything. While that was overlong, and at times a messy demise into sheer melancholy, Assume Form is a far more refined effort that sees Blake explore his emotions in a far more productive way. Arguably his most complete record, Assume Form implements elements of hip-hop and electronica to produce his greatest atmosphere yet. It’s a beautiful, soaring and ambient modernist pop record if ever there was one.
Australian music is on a high. They’ve always had something up their sleeves, ever since The Easybeats scored Australia’s first ever rock’n’roll hit back in ’66 with ‘Friday on My Mind’. However, in recent times there’s been a stream of high-quality stuff, across all genres; from the lo-fi punk of The Chats to the singer-songwriter indie-rock of Courtney Barnett, and from the guitar-based Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever to the quirky indie songs of Stella Donnelly. To misquote one of our long deceased Prime Ministers, Harold Macmillan, they’ve never had it so good.
Triptych, a three-day festival courtesy of Love Thy Neighbour, has seen such an amazingly eclectic mix of Brighton’s favourite artists play, that it is vital to providing a platform for up-and-coming talent. Winter Gardens are determined to use the opportunity wisely. Touting themselves as ‘dream punks’, the quartet amalgamate everything that was glorious about bygone days of 4AD and Creation to produce a melodic, synth-driven journey through time that definitely gets the crowd’s attention. Singer Ananda is confident in her performance and she is ably accompanied by the rest of the band. Latest single ‘Coral Bells’ means WG are definitely of note on the East Sussex scene and one of their next appearances is at Austerity Records’ Hastings launch party in February, where Idles are doing a DJ set, no less.
After a rather eventful 2018 in which psyche-punk group Dog Of Man released their debut EP, named Musically Transmitted Diseases, as well as headlining a number of shows across the UK, they certainly started this year off strongly as well with their performance at the Green Door Store.
When New Yorker Sharon Van Etten released the appropriately titled ‘Comeback Kid’, late last year, garnering huge acclaim and sighs of relief from the many who were worried they had heard the last of her, she reminded us, after a gap of nearly five years, why so many admired her work. Gentle and folksy on the surface, Etten wore her heart on her sleeve in displaying darker undertones, and human frailty. Now though, there is a heightened rock’n’roll grit to her music, ‘Comeback Kid’ containing a hint of the expressive Anna Calvi, with the muscularity of both New York’s LCD and The Strokes.
“How do you describe an album out of time, concerned with the disappearance of culture, of humanity, of nature, of logic and emotion? Why make this album in an era when attention spans have been reduced to next to nothing, and the tactile grains of making music have been further reduced to algorithms and projected playlist placement. Why wake up in the morning? Why hasn’t everything already disappeared?” State Deerhunter about the creation of their latest album, Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?, the first album from the band since 2015’s Fading Frontier. A temperamental and cynical record, that sees Deerhunter try to emulate America’s newest heroes such as DIIV and The National, Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? brings Deerhunter straight up-to-date with their contemporaries.
I think it’s safe to say that many – including myself – were wrong about The 1975. The tide began to change when the follow-up to their critically-panned debut eponymous record, I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It, was received slightly warmer than its predecessor and topped the album charts on both sides of the Atlantic. Their third album, A Brief Enquiry Into Online Relationships, however, has seen many a critic eat humble pie. A record with a dizzying amount of experimentation and intensely laid-out themes, it’s an uneven but incredibly impressive record, that has genuinely seen the band become world beaters.
Despite this being my fourth time seeing Astroid Boys live, I was especially excited to see them perform at The Prince Albert, as I really didn’t know what to expect this time around. A lot had changed within the Welsh group that put hardcore-grime on the map since their last live performance I saw, supporting Enter Shikari at the Brighton Centre back in 2017.