Saturday, 12 January 2013

Alt command - Freeze The Atlantic and Hold Your Horse Is - live review Bull and Gate

Freeze The Atlantic ****1/2*

Hold Your Horse Is *****

Radio Alcatraz ***1/2**

The Bull And Gate, Kentish Town 8th January 2013

Finally escaped the sofa, the man versus fudge sized bucket of Quality Street and the inevitable shit TV and headed out for the first gig of what promises to be a great year for the heavier side of music. Well, if all the so-called pundits, hacks and futurologists are to be believed.

Radio Alcatraz ***1/2**

So, to Kentish town for a jumbo selection box of Hampshire/Surrey home grown goodies.

But first, let's get the slight negative out of the way, all tonight's acts suffer from a not particularly vox-friendly Front of House rig. The music sounds great, but all the singers sound vaguely muffled and lack total cut through. A shame, but, to be honest a minor whinge.

Anyway, ignoring the flavour guide card thing, let's get stuck in to tonight's glutton box.  First on the tongue tonight are a nuggety, chewy interesting ball of flavour Radio Alcatraz. A satisfying blend of mescaline-fuelled ATDi/Mars Volta proggy complexity covered in rich, heavy, spiky riffs. 

Diminutive front man Simon Griffiths belts out a high tempo collection of polemic, politicising and at times ranty lyrics aided and abetted by swirling post-hardcore atmosphere and extra chewy riff bombs and a stiffly whisked rhythm section. It's tasty stuff. With the occasional shard of glass or hint of astringent acid cutting through the huge body.

There are vague but definite similarities to Zack de la Rocha in Griffiths's delivery as he jumps, spins and darts around like a hamster whacked out on goofballs stopping in his tracks occasionally to earnestly deliver his heart-felt sermons. Not that it's in anyway overdone or self-important. There's a fun and fizz in the mouth throughout. As I say, tasty stuff indeed.

Will definitely choose one of these again. 

The Radio Alcatraz Delight: A fiery centre with molten lava, Jack Daniels, kerosene and rusty, blood-covered razor blades deliciously covered in dark and complex riffery. Yum.

Hold Your Horse Is *****

Next to be unwrapped and popped in the gob are Mssrs Pearson, Penny and Rouse. 

With their totally brilliant album Frimley to plunder, the home counties trio serve up a wonderful mix of tantalising tastes. Ranging from indie-imbued choppiness to full-on throbbing erect priapic rock and roll. 

There's a wonderful paradox in HYHI's oeuvre: simple complexity. The songs often sound straightforward, but the constructs and cleverness lend an originality and satisfying substance. Cute time signature diversions and beat drops, chugs that counterpoint, polyrhythms and compound timings that add a dissonant edge that eschews the predictable.

A good few of the tracks from Frimley are given the glorious raw live treatment. That's raw in a good way. There's a controlled shambolic feel to some of their work, but that's all for the cameras. It's complex, challenging, grown up but not self indulgent or shoe-gazing. 

Poppy refrains peek in between the oft frenzied and splendid guitar work of Robin Pearson and his dual output flux capacitor guitar and throughout, the vibrant, explosive melange is controlled by the beautiful and sensitive bass playing of James Penny. Who looks like he's just got off the school bus tonight. Resplendent in 6 former's jumper and accompanied by his rucksack just plonked down in front of his cab.

Not satisfied with bombing us with their previous work, the lads even serve up a new sweetie. Douche Beige continues where Frimley left off. Knowing, witty, huge, but catchy and fun. Pretty much sums up tonight's stonking performance. 

The Hold Your Horse Is Barrel: Lively and zingy centre crafted from the finest razor wire, battery acid and blinding bath tub gin surrounded by a jaunty, amusing explosive crackling that melts faces. Definitely contains nuts.

Freeze The Atlantic ****1/2*

Given the fact that I love Reuben and, of course, Hundred Reasons, it beggars belief that this lot have missed my radar. As a kind of latter day Alt supergroup (I'm sure they'll thank me for that - sorry chaps), formed by waifs and strays from both the aforementioned legendary bands, they can only really be bloody good.

And on tonight's performance that's proven. In spades. No, fuck it, in Royal flush Hearts.

Vocal sound notwithstanding, the set is electrifying. Huge tunes. Massive riffs and hooks, melody, harmony, light, shade, energy and beauty. All delivered perfectly but not clinically. These boys are seriously on it. Every aspect welded seamlessly together. But not without a real jagged serrated edge when needed.

There are tons of guitar-based post-hardcore, Alt pop rock bands schlepping up and down the country at the moment, and finding an edge to differentiate is becoming harder and harder. Genres transmute, mash ups of all manner of styles and influences are being experimented upon and launched daily. But the thing that really puts bands like this ahead of the pack is, quite simply, talent. 

Not just the ability to blisterningly and perfectly shred the pentatonic, diatonic, dorian and any other sodding scale or to master every chord, progression, lick and cadenza. (The last thing we need is sterile, indulgent technically brilliant musicians wanking in front of us.) No, genuine talent for song-crafting, balance, originality and making genuine connections.

Freeze The Atlantic may not have mastered or launched a totally original blend of music upon the world, but they truly are bloody good at what they do. And what they do is bloody good. 

A 'knowing' crowd has definitely been treated to something pretty special tonight.

The Freeze The Atlantic FrappĂ©: Deliciously and delightfully created from whispy clouds, angels tears and puppy dogs. Then thrown into a fucking rusty sceptic tank, with gallons of home made moonshine, nitroglycerine, napalm, speed, crack, machine gun cartridges and Stravinsky's jizz. Covered in concrete encrusted with rare gems. Hmmmm, delicious.

More tunes soon, Bwooooar!

Mallory Knox and Spycatcher next...

1 comment:

  1. Hey man,
    I REALLY need to contact you, can you please send me an e-mail?
    I'll let you know more about it in the e-mail, thanks!