Trudy and the Romance – The Hope & Ruin – 8th November 2017

Trudy and the Romance – The Hope & Ruin
Photo by Liam McMillen

There are a lot of modern bands nowadays that claim they’re influenced by classic artists from the 50s and 60s but, when you listen to their music, there is barely a whisper of any such influence. Liverpudlian band Trudy and the Romance, however, are not only influenced by the likes of Fats Domino, Ray Charles and The Beatles, but they wear those influences firmly on their sleeves. Consequently, it makes them one of the most interesting and unique indie bands on the scene right now.

Support on the night came from Brighton’s Hyper Gloom, who are still in the very early stages of their career. This was telling as they all seemed nervous, and the small crowd didn’t help, but they flourished more and more as the set went on. Strangely, they reminded me of slightly off-kilter glam-rock and notoriously uncool bands from the past such as The Police, R.E.M. and Genesis. One song, which was codenamed by the band as ‘Disney/The Police’, is a fun, bass-heavy tune that you could imagine Sting coming up with. A strange band but one that has, at least, found a sound.

Playing in support of their new EP, which arrives next Friday, Trudy and the Romance’s set was dominated by said EP and their previous singles. Having just received funds from PRS, they’re certainly a band with some momentum and a spring in their step. Their nostalgic, doo-wop sound is clear on the likes of ‘Baby I’m Blue’ and ‘Is There a Place I Can Go’, but it’s an unreleased song, in which drummer Brad Mullins takes the vocals, where the best moment of the night comes from. Sounding like a barbershop quartet classic, this song is dedicated to a birthday boy in the crowd. They bring him on stage and dance with him while simultaneously clicking, doo-wopping and dancing around. It’s a moment worth the entry price alone.

There’s a care-free attitude to Trudy and the Romance and, due to the fact all four members have a microphone, there’s a back-and-forth banter between the members that rejuvenates their live show. There’s a constant conversation going on between the band, whether it’s asking what song they’re going to play next or when their EP is out, their live show is just as charmingly ramshackled as their studio output.

Another highlight came in the form of a cover from their hometown heroes and no doubt massive influences, The Beatles. After covering Kenny Lynch’s ‘Puff’ earlier on in the night, they played the Fab Four’s classic ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ as their encore song, encapsulating both their retro attitudes towards music and their modernist take on the single. Trudy and the Romance clearly have a passion for music. Not just for playing, but for listening, drawing inspiration and developing ideas. Their passion is infectious and it makes this project all the more successful.

Trudy and the Romance make the sort of music you could imagine stumbling across when you’re rummaging through your parent’s record collection. They sound warm, mahogany-rich and crackling like a record spinning on a turntable. There’s a certain amount of nostalgia in Trudy’s catalogue and live show but, importantly, there’s also a modern mien that makes their work contemporary, stylish and huge amounts of fun.

Liam McMillen