Maximum Black Festival Club Tour
Final Fantasy, Frog Eyes, Dirty Projectors, and Alexander Tucker and Stephen O'MalleyEdit this event
- Six Organs Of Admittance »
- Final Fantasy »
- Frog Eyes »
- Dirty Projectors »
- Alexander Tucker and Stephen O'Malley »
Combining Richard Hell's faux-jazz angle and Pixies’ Spaghetti Western indie-rock really doesn't pay off for Frog Eyes. Not tonight, not here at least. With such muddy early-doors sound it's hardly the best time to judge them, but one finds it hard to imagine a time when Carey Mercer's overwrought, under-skilled quasi-showboating a cappella interludes wouldn't grate. At points it hits on a certain pleasing repetition with some beatific ebow soloing over the top, but it's too little, too late.
It sounds crass to say it, but Six Organs Of Admittance sound like their bassist and drummer just didn't bother to show up on the night and they thought they'd have a go anyway. With just two guitarists, one playing pretty straightforward clean, chuggy folk rock and the other submitting her guitar to Sonic Youth style violence they make a pretty convincing folksy/psyche jam band sound, but without a rhythm section to give it any weight. Whilst there is something novel about the frustration of expectations, they still play very straight, uninterestingly structured jams, which you'd hope a diminished line up would give the opportunity to avoid.
Musically, Dirty Projectors' vocals are some of the smartest and most enjoyable around at the moment. Crafty interlocking backing phrases, stunningly pitched harmonies and ludicrously characterful lead exclamations. Instrumentally, the guitars and drums pick out their fashionably Afrobeat-y funk in a bizarrely non-repetitive manner. Sometimes you'd like it to hit more of a straight groove, but frankly we've got Vampire Weekend for that. We’ll leave Dirty Projectors the job of simulating falling in and out of a lucid dream - cosy, warm, paradisial shimmerings abruptly corrupted and reset.
Alexander Tucker and Stephen O'Malley provide a warm, enveloping drone, made of looped cellos and oohs and aahs, with lead guitar casually tripping around atop. There's very little else to say about what goes on musically during their set, but that's hardly the point. Even if they are to all intents and purposes doing nearly exactly the same thing for however long this goes on (long), the non-synchronised fluctuations of the sonic elements lap against each other in minute variations throughout. It's very well matched with two video screens showing sandy structures shifting and dissolving, not unlike the sedimentary layers of sound.
The Final Fantasy (pictured) live show is the musical equivalent of Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain. The same mix of twee lovesickness, subtle manipulation of technology contrasted with a certain nostalgia and overall palatability (Palettability? NO.). And where Jeunet's images are coupled with Yann Tiersen's mélange of traditional European folk and avant-garde minimalism, so Owen Pallett's not-dissimilar music is partnered with the most adorably cute projection show ever. Each song is accompanied by hand-moved transparencies on an OHP, little puppet characters acting out the lyrics naively. Perhaps to some this would seem sickening, but by God it just works. Horrendous cynics are reduced to babbling fools, laughing joyously at Owen's every shy muttering.
He's technically profoundly impressive - his songs have so many more left turns and such tighter structures than a loop pedal set has any right to. He makes it all seem so frustratingly easy, casually jumping between playing calling pitch shifted bass lines and lead responses on his violin, singing atop in such a perfectly prim but easy-going voice. But after fascination with his methods has sunk in, the sheer beauty of the songs enraptures completely.
One almost has to feel sorry for the other bands on the bill. Whilst Owen's done them a great favour in getting them to play here to so many people, there was little chance that they wouldn't have been so far outshone.
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