It was celebration all round for Norway’s Pom Poko as they descended to Brighton’s Prince Albert on a rainy Monday night. Not only were they playing their “first proper gig outside of Norway” but they were celebrating their one-year anniversary since their first ever gig. Only one year since their inception, they’re an extremely confident band that has the chemistry most bands could only dream of.
Launching the impressive bill were Brighton newcomers Ezekiel Doo. The self-proclaimed ‘anti-psychers’ rushed through a short set with their unpolished, sinister post-rock that harks back to bands such as Gish-era The Smashing Pumpkins and Superchunk. A fairly new band, having been together less than a year, what they lack in polish they make up for in sheer musicality and, with a prolific output and more gigs, it won’t be long before they find their audience.
The next band was Brighton-based dynamic pop band Penelope Isles. Now, I admit to seeing them previously and not exactly being enamoured with them. However, this time they were simply phenomenal. Playing to an absolutely packed-out crowd – no mean feat for a support act on a Monday night – they looked and sounded like a band a few gigs away from their breakout moment.
Penelope Isles harness that ability of having immensely catchy indie-pop tunes as well as having cinematic, compelling, potent songs that take you on a pop expedition. Imagine a more experimental The Magic Numbers and that’s exactly where Penelope Isles fall. Furthermore, with both them and Ezekiel Doo (and countless others), it looks like the future of Brighton’s thriving scene is in safe hands.
After playing an intense and boisterous show early on this year at The Great Escape, Pom Poko arrived back in Brighton for a show that will surely proclaim them as one of the liveliest bands around. It’s clear just how much fun they’re having on stage together, they’re clearly relishing performing for people outside of Norway at such a young age.
This frenetic nature all comes from lead singer, Ola Djupvik, who doesn’t stop moving throughout the entire gig. While the whole band look like they’re having a party, she’s like a pocket rocket, a bundle of energy orchestrating Pom Poko’s squirming and squealing riffs and their bouncy, chirpy choruses. Djupvik is a star in the making and at her age she’s only going to get more sophisticated and buoyant in her performance. I can’t even fathom just how good she’ll become.
Like all the best bands, Pom Poko are increasingly hard to pigeonhole. At times their brand of indie-pop-punk sounds like the groovy, corrugation-heavy sounds of Two Door Cinema Club and other times their nastier riffs are heavier and louder, reminiscent of Rage Against the Machine, which is some compliment. For sure, though, everything that Pom Poko do is steeped in fun.
Their latest singles ‘It’s a Trap’, ‘You’ll Be Fine’ and ‘Jazz Baby’ all sounded delicious, but pleasantly their unreleased material sounds as satisfying, vicious and addictive as their recent output. For a first ever headline UK gig, Pom Poko showed positive signs that it won’t be the last time that they play Brighton – and be sure it’ll be in a bigger venue than The Prince Albert.