Tonight’s line-up was one of the strongest we have had in a long time. Anyone could have closed, but the honour itself went to a band who have only been playing live on the Irish scene since March. What really makes them a band to see live is the way they have developed a sound that is uniquely steeped in a black influence but also carries a modernity across at the same time. People have tried to pigeon-hole it as aggro-soul and other buzz words, but in our opinion it fits in with a new genre that has sprung up in San Diego that champions the proto-sound called New Wop. It is a style that feels underground, raw but also steeped in a rich tradition of working class sounds that came from the Bronx in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. You have to really hear what this band have going for them to truly appreciate what they sound like. You won’t be disappointed if you do.
What they are all about shows in the music. Getting proceedings underway was ‘Disarm’ and distinction clearly bleeds from the lyrical narrative here. The sound is equally as impressive. With the breakdown of funk and other black musical influences it adds notoriety. It makes you sit up and take note as front woman Jess Kavanagh began to own the stage. It is a mesmerising exercise in showmanship that shows they are a band who is very much the real deal. They even impressed a watching Wallis Bird who happened to be in the audience tonight.
With the whip of guitar calling the shots, ‘Corvax’ is another fashionable effort that comes into the mix off the back of how immersed in creating their own style musically this band are. The bass also feeds in more depth and with how it marries to the vocals the vibrancy in the play does not go amiss. The impressive way that terms are yielded here is neatly checked by the pace in the timings. ‘Fallacy’ then lays on the funk. How the bets are hedged pays off by showing a proto-Motown vibe that is incredibly well presented. That is presented over represented because it isn’t anything that follows anyone in particular, which is underlined by how the timing and spacings are carried off. Her voice is also truly astounding on this one. Maintaining the momentum, ‘The Love Of A Name’ cements something convincing. Here the elements are separated but also show an underground calling in how it breaks down. Equally telling is the latter progression here which suitably underlines this.
Jess Kavanagh explained ‘Sassy Mouth’ as being a song that is the ‘autonomy of my anatomy and the anatomy of my autonomy’. That aside, the song really does get down to business and the beat is well called out on the bass. The hooks that come off the sound are delicious and they call out a nouveau disco chic that is fresh. The lyrics extend this and the way the delivery closes out captures the showmanship. If there is one criticism to be offered, it is this – this is a song that should feature later on down their set list because of how big a number it is and the impact it has on a crowd. But it was also being given its first live showing here tonight so it can be overlooked. The delivery was softened by ‘Bear’. Here the running is a more easy-going affair that holds up as it leads in to a harder foundation. Where it holds back shows some smart handling because it pitches poise and pitch to the delivery in a way that frames it all convincingly. It more than likely will find a place to call home in future live gigs no doubt.
What followed next with ‘Gentle Kind Of Lies’ reverted back to the hip counter balance of the sound that sits well in terms of how they break down their style. Again the funk is embraced and it is all realised in a whip smart fashion that is top drawer. There is a seamless ebb and flow to the ebb and flow which easily rolled out a beatbox style with sophistication. But it is a certified calling when it takes off. Even though ‘Earthquakes’ is more of the same it has a more mellow vibe to it. This projection is where the presence on show counts. It is also incredibly comfortable in terms of how it comes across on its own terms and works the crowd. That spark of inspiration was maintained with their closing number ‘That Thing You Love’. While it is highly alternative it is also rounded and grounded in a brilliant manner. It has a detailed sense of urgency in the running and the way the euphoria runs off the rhythm is caressed in a stylish manner. The clever orchestration retains fluidity and this is highly attractively alongside the teasing sophistication on show. It certified why everyone has been getting behind the band. After watching them live tonight for the first time we can sum them up in just three words – BELIEVE THE HYPE!