There was electricity in the air as we arrived early to The Hope & Ruin to be confronted by a small queue snaking around the staircase from the makeshift box-office on the landing, where Thomas White was sat checking tickets. It seemed like this was a night of reunion for many of the fans in attendance as much as it was, certainly in home-coming terms, for the two bands on the bill. There have been lots of rumblings from The Electric Soft Parade camp in 2018, a successfully backed Pledge Music campaign to fund the recording of their fifth studio album, recent shows supporting fellow indie darlings of the early 00s Ultrasound, and even a charity showcase at Portslade’s little known Circle Arts Centre last May. However, there’s nothing quite like coming home and filling one of the venues of your youth for a band like ESP, who’ve been active on our Brighton stages in one form or another since they were teenagers at the arse end of the 90s.
What more is there to say about Steve Mason, the former Beta Band frontman, who continues to ride high in the affections of a fiercely loyal and musically literate fanbase? After suffering deep depression a few years back, Mason decamped to Brighton, where he still resides, seemingly in a better place, and continues to make remarkably, albeit more upbeat, soulful music: his craft as a songwriter second to none.
If this is the first time that you’ve heard of the Swedish melodic death metal band Soilwork, you may be surprised to find out that they have been going strong for over 20 years, since their formation in late 1995, and have recently released their 11th studio album titled Verkligheten.
No Step is the second full-length album from local art rock/post-grunge group Perch and clearly displays a progression in the band’s style, whilst keeping that Brighton band aesthetic that made their past efforts so brilliant.
On Saturday night, Brighton-based art-rock band Perch took to The Hope & Ruin to promote their new album, No Step, which was released the same day. The nine-track album follows 2016’s Umbra and consists of tracks the band have been playing live for a while now, with the album itself having a live atmosphere feel to it.
You Tell Me have forged something bright and bold, a work that largely marries the personal lyricism of Hayes, with the production and multi-instrumentalist skills of Brewis. Low key on the surface, less grand than what we are used to with Field Music, and recorded in a very short space of time, it is still full to the brim with sparklingly short and inventive orchestral-pop vignettes that place melody at the forefront. A minor triumph.
When it was announced that legendary Brighton venue Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar would be closing at the end of last year it sent shockwaves through the Brighton music scene. Firstly a sense of grief, due to lost jobs and the beautiful memories created there and, secondly, because if an independent venue can’t exist in Brighton – a liberal, music-loving city with independence running through its veins – then where can it? Thank goodness, then, for Green Door Store; a venue that has reached its eighth year by doing everything right. Showcasing excellent underground bands, as well as some of the most hotly-tipped in the world, as well as giving brilliant Brighton bands a leg up.
One of Brighton’s favourite four-pieces Bloom had quite an unconventional beginning. Essentially the offspring of a previous band of theirs (The Beautiful Word) due to a radical change in their music style, transitioning from folk-inspired music to a far more ambient style of indie-pop. Since then, they’ve released an impressive debut album titled What Is Life, which successfully showed a much more refined approach to their sound that was promised with their re-branding.
The Twilight Sad are known for their highly dramatic, visceral indie-rock but even these are somewhat lazy labels that make them sound more mundane than they are. Though there are a lot of acts favouring a similar style (and some from several decades ago), there remains something unique about this group of Scotsmen. They are young, passionate and Robert Smith loves them, so just over a decade of hard graft now seems to be paying off as they prepare to release their fifth studio album on Mogwai’s Rock Action Records. The question is: has it changed them now the world seems to be becoming their oyster?
Phoenix is the first album from Seattle’s Pedro The Lion in 15 years. It is, therefore, obvious that it should be named after the mythical creature that symbolises a rebirth of sorts, a new beginning, which is definitely indicative of David Bazan’s creative process after such a long hiatus. Central figurehead for the outfit, Bazan found himself in his hometown of Phoenix, Arizona, when touring the US alone a few years ago, stopping off at his grandparents’ house. The breakthrough that followed also inspired a visit to the house he grew up in, undoubtedly resulting in the nostalgia that is the dominant theme throughout his new material.