Giant Peach – The Hope & Ruin, Brighton – 20th June 2018

Photo by Christian Middleton

The moment Giant Peach step on-stage you can tell there’s something new about them, a new air of confidence surrounds them. The band – who were formally playing as ISLA until last year – took almost a year out to gather themselves and focus on a sound and direction, emerging now as very much a different group entirely. Everything has been taken up a gear and not in terms of decibels. Tonight the band sound like pros; their music is focussed and considered, as well as being sharp, balanced and well rounded. They’ve taken their initial promise and quantified it, with Giant Peach being the result.

The moment they open with ‘Telephone’ it’s clear they’re onto something. It’s a heavy riff-led track that catches everyone off guard and one that’s been circling my head all day since. It’s a well refined song that’s incredibly disciplined, their stage sound is flawless. When I first saw them perform as ISLA their live sound was always something that stood out, it was clear this was something they meticulously worked over. Now they’ve expanded it even further and the result is brilliant. With a clear identity it’s obvious they’re a band who are ready to take on bigger stages all over.

New single ‘Melatonin’ is an obvious stand out. It’s familiar to the sounds of their former identity but taken further forward. It’s a breezy, summery sounding song, very much a festival season single. Giant Peach are full of material like this. It’s expansive dream pop done very well – a focussed warm pop sound that isn’t sleepy. Each song could easily go out as a single and give a good representation of who Giant Peach are.

For a first show as a new group with new songs, their set is impressively varied. The way they opened to ‘Telephone’ was a standout from the set. There are well-rounded slower songs and exciting ones throughout. They’ve put so much time into their craft and considered how they want to present the band and it really shows. Each song and the ideas in it work together in what they have presented, it’s all very cohesive.

As a unit, Giant Peach are incredibly tight live. They all stand out very well as individuals and work seamlessly as a team. They don’t focus on stage antics and don’t exchange much with the crowd. They let the music speak for itself. Tonight is a celebratory show for the band, this is the product of a year of refining and hard work. They’re all clearly buzzing on-stage as it all comes together.

Giant Peach are very much a band worth your attention and worth getting excited about. This is how they’ve got the ball rolling and things are only going to snowball from this point. Coming back as a fresh band with a fresh identity has propelled them forward. A new beginning will make the band restart their journey again. Now, as Giant Peach each footstep and stride will be much larger, they’ll get far in no time.

Christian Middleton