12th October | Louisiana
This time of year, Bristol City Centre on a Friday night is saturated with manically enthusiastic beer monsters, with feasting aplenty at their fingertips. The Louisiana, on the other hand, was quite a different atmosphere, aside from one person everyone kept telling to be quiet.
Wasuremono are, first and foremost, atmosphere weavers. Within the first ten seconds of them playing, the entire upstairs of The Louisiana felt immersed in a transcendent reality; the wave of psychedelic fuzz from the Les Paul guitar and the contorted sounds of the keyboards were like glitter-imbued sandpaper. The opening bars of their most recent single, ‘England’s Slave’ sound like the accompanying score to a panning shot of Tokyo nightlife from Lost In Translation. The green and purple lights, 80s drum machine, Jesus and Mary Chain-style synth sounds and oriental calligraphy below the band’s name, augmenting a tune about Korean pop music, couldn’t have been more appropriate.
Many songs started with the drum machine in isolation, wilting into existence like a Granddaddy track, before finding their feet and blossoming into grandiose overlaying sounds and sweeping melodies. Will Southward’s vocal, when occupying the upper range, had a fragility akin to MGMT. It was coupled with Madelaine Ryan’s backing vocal, pickled with subtle differences in the melody that gave it a slightly unsettling character.
This worked especially well in the song ‘Boogeyman,’ which felt like a 19th Century Gothic fairy tale to terrify children and give adults the creeps. As singer Will uttered “he is real” repeatedly, it created an icy tension as the song lumbered along to haunting church organ sounds, before ebbing out to a ghostly wail of a falsetto.
This was definitely one of the highlights of the set and showed how well the band can create an almost magical little world, as they focus closely on performing the carefully-balanced compositions. The band also performed some older tracks, such as ‘Lesson to Learn’ which stylistically sat apart somewhat from the rest of the set with its surf rock, slightly rockabilly and questionable pinch of Texan accent in the verses. But what typified most of the songs was that late 90s indie-style chorus, with its pop-friendly leap and optimistic feel.
The tracks from the recent album, Something Left Behind have this, especially the crowd-pleasing ‘For All The Bears’ which had them singing back, “us bears always stick together” with cheerful abandon; but there is a particularly well-structured and distinctive character to the music on that LP, which was where the band shone best. The especially British and rural nursery rhyme nature of it, coupled with the eerie psychedelia created by the fuzz and synth sounds nestled around the vocals is particularly magical.
Add to that the fact that the crowd interplay was conducted mostly by Isaac Phillips, the drummer as Will stood silently tuning his guitar or gazing into the middle distance, Will obtained that additional air of mystery as orchestrator of his idiosyncratic song collection. They executed a detailed and skilled performance with apparent ease and should impress many a listener during their forthcoming support slot with Phosphorescent.