Photo (c) Mustafa Mirreh
We would have been surprised if they’d not thrown down the guitars and walked off at the end… We were not surprised.
It has to be said for Electric Harmony that they certainly pull together a good bunch of slick and professional acts. This showcase was an eclectic mix indeed. Stepping from one ilk to the next; bearing little resemblance to each other.
Wyldest had a somewhat semi-hypnotised disposition about them, which was apparently contagious. From the moment they started, the 80s dreamy synth and effect-saturated guitar didn’t cease. The highly polished style instantly captivated and conjured up thoughts of numerous acts that former ‘new romantics’ hailed as the future of music. The dual female harmonies in particular were very reminiscent of the Human League minus the androgynous shape-puller.
Instead we were treated to Zoe Mead who, although facing away from us each time she took to the keys, had a heartfelt and honest delivery that was both refreshing and believable. The bass and drums expertly glued to each other forming a sonic bundle which she melodiously pirouetted upon – applying a very distinct choice of sounds. Overtly retro in nature and comfortable in the company of a Thatcher-era Amstrad games console.
The songs were carefully constructed and highly detailed beneath the overt dream pop icing. Nuances between the tracks made it a satisfying journey to hear. A touch of traditional Celtic and some Christmas bell loops thrown in for good measure, as the digital sections slotted together like shimmering Lego bricks. Meanwhile, below the transfixed faces and motionless shoulders, a whole sea of feet were tapping as they listened in bewilderment.
Post Louis then took to the stage with an admirable magnitude of hair. The singer donned in an understated glittering dress, possibly a sarcastic nod to a 50s diva. The bass led the way with a tribal thumping. Opening the set with a ballad-like dirge; the singer playfully gestured with a melodramatic mimic; whilst those behind swayed from side to side in an almost choreographed fashion. The overall sound was reminiscent of latter half Britpop. The swaggering movement and part drunk guitar was worthy of the Longpigs. Whilst the lead parts slid up and down interacting with the vocals popping and yelping in reaction.
The overall tone of the set shifted dramatically throughout. What would be appreciated by many as delightfully multi-facetted, some may have considered inconsistent. As the style seemed to morph on the peripheries, there was also some grunge fuzz applied, combined with heavy reverb vocals. This took us up an emo corridor for a short while. ‘Up Tight’ stood out as a particularly well-written song. Toying with some trip-hop leaning samples and building at a steady pace; the carefully arranged parts beautifully supported the eccentricities and pitch changes in the singing. Making the peaks and eventual closure feel perfectly placed.
Closing us for the night was Black Honey, whose first song weaned us onto what was about to come. Very possibly aping Nancy Sinatra’s ‘Bang Bang’ and applying a touch of ‘Brighton’ to it, we were quickly shown the power of Izzy Bees voice and how well the band supported it. Having sculpted the atmosphere appropriately they then launched into the rest of the set. Thrashing out a fast-paced grunged-up rockabilly, the vocalist dispensing with her soulful groans and resorting to bouts of demented screaming, unassisted by the microphone which could be heard over the band.
They continued in this vein; gentle and soulful, jumping into reverb laden attacks, the male backing vocals nonchalantly whooping in agreement. The continual surf guitar twang of the amps like a Misirlou shadow throughout their time on stage. Their gritty exterior and disordered antics did not, however, lesson their anthem spinning abilities. ‘Bloodlust’ for instance, with its stomping simple Kills-style riff and Izzys’ hooky phrases circulating and broadcasting like a sneering Sinatra; was as catchy as it was aggressive. This is an act which is both cathartic and sing-able. We would have been surprised if they’d not thrown down the guitars and walked off at the end… We were not surprised. Luckily the drummer was kind enough to switch everything off for them as he trailed behind like a dejected session player.
Check out Black Honey right here: