An enthusiastic crowd in for a night of eighties-influenced electro rock at Clash Magazine’s December launch. All three bands passionately manipulate the synths in their skinny jeans in the customary style the of the keyboard alchemist; like masseurs whose wiggles and knee bends suggest they might need a visit to the gents.
The literary sounding Ivory Seas are a four piece, featuring deep, rising bass lines and the Pet Shop Boys’ smoothly glossed vocal articulation. Their singer is certainly a throwback to early eighties New Romanticism in pleated trousers and black crew neck top. They plug their new double A side, ‘Mothers Tongue’, a first release on vinyl. It has a brilliant drum groove, a continual fill where the sticks roll in a tide across the whole kit. The flipside ‘Still Brooding’ features a repeated, insistent oriental sounding chord. They tie up the set with their first single ‘Boundary’, whose lyrics echo the acid-like free associations of the late sixties.
Unexpectedly, as they depart, they thank the audience and suggest people "come and have a sherry with us." All very cosy and genteel. It’s sometimes difficult to get used to the ever present politeness and soberness of the current era’s alternative music scene.
Brighton based five piece Cave Painting open with subterranean grumblings on the Korg, reminiscent of Bauhaus’ 'Bela Lugosi’s Dead'. Quiffed lead singer Adam Kane hugs the mic like it’s an ice cream he wants to judiciously lick in the hope it’ll last forever. Their melllifluously melodic songs, such as ‘So Calm’ are chunked with searing guitar breaks. Although the live set can’t quite capture the depth and atmospherics of their recordings the songs still feel exquisitely textured and their brief set comes to a rousing conclusion.
Once Cave Painting depart the venue fills with a pall of dry ice and some exotically designed cardboard headwear is doled out to the audience, for no discernible reason. The smog though has a rationale, because grey is the leitmotif of Luv Luv Luv records outfit Get People. The graphics of their trippy, kaleidoscopic videos are Narnia-esque, frosty kingdoms. The fact that the two singers are physically and vocally obscured in the self-created crepuscule is not in itself a problem, but is symptomatic of the band’s lack of rapport with the audience. It’s not that that there needs to be chit chat, but unless you’re going to go the whole hog and have a stunning visual show to complement the music, the pungent fog does put the boys at an unhelpful remove from their punters. Once again Get People’s rich soundscape is not fully served justice in a live setting. Like their predecessors they’re producing sonically crisp and fascinating electronica. The performance ends with new single ‘Back to Dust’. In spite of the clarion call of the band’s name, The Lexington was pretty full, at least from what we could see amidst the smoke.
Words by Adrian Cross
Photos by Richard Gray