Dirty Projectors and Lykke LiEdit this event
- Camden Dingwalls, »
Oh Sweden! Last year you gave us one of the most infectious singles of recent years in the form of Peter, Bjorn and John’s ‘Young Folks’, this year Jens Lekman delivered from your shores his delightful Night Falls Over Kortedala album, and as we prepare to enter 2008 you’ve only gone and offered us yet another captivating, idiosyncratic pop star in the guise of 21-year-old Lykke Li.
Draped in tambourine necklaces and blessed with a singing voice of unfeasibly high register, Li’s confidence is both astonishing and slightly unnerving. Like a Swedish Nelly Furtado (seriously), she prowls the stage seductively, encouraging the crowd to dance, hold hands or kiss on the softer numbers. Backed by a percussionist/sampler and bassist/guitarist who rise above the din of chatter from the back of the venue, Li’s songs revolve around clipped beats, relatively simple melodies and strong repetition. Lyrics are very sweet and occasionally exceptionally frank (“And for you I keep my legs apart / And forget about my tainted heart… I think I love you – a little bit”), but what really elevates Li into the pop stratosphere is her voice. Put simply, it’s utterly beguiling; in ‘Tonight’ particularly her delivery conjures up unfathomable emotion belying her tender years.
At the close of her all-too-brief set she impishly invites the crowd to ditch the headline acts and come see her play her second show of the evening down the road. The urge to do exactly this, buy some flowers on the way and maybe propose when I get there is strong, but I resist. It’s a good thing too, as Dirty Projectors are on next and they’re terrific. Dave Longstreth is the man behind this project, who earlier this year ‘re-imagined’ Black Flag’s seminal Damaged album purely from memory (notably aided by Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear in this task). Flanked by Amber Coffman on guitar and Angel Deradoorian on bass, he is a spectacle to behold – a raging maelstrom of guitar flourishes, noise and screams counter-pointed by the calm presence and flawless backing vocals of said players. The verve and technicality of the group is a pleasure to witness, and on ‘Gimme Gimme Gimme’ the girls’ singing is stupendous, each one claiming a staccato breath in turn to mesmerising effect. For all the clatter and volume of much of the set, there is an element of grandeur and beauty present clearly not lost on the audience. Oh, and outrageously brilliant drumming.
Next, **Caribou take to the stage with two drum-kits at the fore and psychedelic visuals on hand. Daniel Snaith (pictured) leads his four-piece through some impressive opening numbers, at once recalling the easy euphoria of The Go! Team and the fuzzed-out guitar attack of My Bloody Valentine. Drums are spacey, guitars are big, and the whole affair is commendably tight. Five or six songs later though, I begin to wonder: is it unreasonable to expect more from a band like this? More hooks? More tunes? And most importantly of all: more contrast?
Ten or eleven songs later and further questions begin to arise, questions along the lines of: when’s the last tube from Camden? Why so many laser gun sound effects? Is £80 too much to spend on jeans, or is it perfectly acceptable? After all, you’re going to wear them a lot. I also remember that Snaith has been quoted with coming up with the Caribou moniker while on an LSD trip and groan a little inside, simultaneously pondering whether having some might make their music seem revolutionary. Damn, those visuals are annoying.
Caribou’s aim is worthy – to take the sunny, blissed-out vibes of bygone eras and imbue them with a modern sensibility. They succeed to a degree, and there’s nothing outright bad about the show: they close proficiently and loudly, as a band like this should. Indulgence, then, is their downfall. It’s a shame, because when they do nail it they sound fantastic.
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