Poly-Math – Brighton Electric Studios – 12th May 2018

Photo by Christian Middleton

There’s a suitable atmosphere of celebration for tonight’s informal show. As with any show that takes place in a rehearsal studio, there’s a feeling of peeping behind the curtain tonight. Brighton Electric studios are a beacon of the music scene in Brighton, anyone and everyone knows the place and the majority of the music-going population has found themselves there at some point. It’s the heartbeat of the city’s music, from the more famed likes of The Cure and Royal Blood to just about any band of any size and level, it has been called their home at one point or another.

Poly-Math are all very dapper tonight, all donning full black suits, walking on to the audio of ‘Geography | Alamut / Sidh’ before tearing into ‘1258 | in the Sights of Mesopotamia’. It’s unexpectedly quite calm in the audience. Poly-Math sound like supercharged thunder, but underneath the clothes of the beast there’s so much intricacy to their music, everyone’s focussed on following it. The music they play is incredibly complex and they play with so much fluidity, it’s just second nature to them.

They don’t say a word till the back end of their set, simply opting for the occasional bow between songs. The lights punctuate the show, coming back up again briefly between each song to mark the end. They’re far more animated on stage than you’d expect, especially bassist Joe Branton who takes to the stage like a wind-up marionette, he physically can’t be still. The nature of the venue strips back a layer of stage magic but this makes it all the more dazzling, it’s like seeing them at home. None of the show feels like performance either, despite an audience operated smoke machine. They come on and tear into it like it’s nothing, this is the space this album was made in after all.

The sound that comes through is near identical to the recording. The band’s epic double concept album, House of Wisdom|We Are the Devil, is a record full of apocalyptic might. However, when you actually see and hear it, it comes as a surprise. It shouldn’t be possible to sound so perfect from four people playing a somewhat bare bones show. It feels like there should be trickery at play. The stamina that the band display is outstanding: they keep going at full speed and at no point show any signs of fatigue.

Tonight’s show is acting as a fundraiser for friend of the band Dan Wild-Beasley’s cancer treatment. The band share his story whilst keeping things light, the situations seeming to look more positive. Next to this they’re incredibly modest about their new album, mentioning it as a footnote to the show.

Poly-Math are a band that truly act as one unit. I rarely see a band as interlocked as they are. Whilst all players are separate they become one on stage, each element meshing into one so tightly that unpicking them would be near impossible. Chemistry this deep is something you don’t see too often. If they can sound this mighty in a small room I fear the sound they can bring to a larger one.

Chris Middleton

Website: polymathband.com
Facebook: facebook.com/polymathbrighton
Twitter: twitter.com/polymathrock