Soup Kitchen, Manchester
This Swedish trio have been treading the boards for a while. Their new one ‘Are You A Dreamer’ is a cracker. Their influences are writ large – and admittedly somewhat well worn – 60s Soundtracks, psych, library music. The most obvious comparison is Stereolab in their more playful mode, or Broadcast before they went down the occult wormhole. However, they do it so very well and on this new record they really put their own stamp on it and have a melodic warmth and openness to their sound which is very appealing. On stage they have no rhythm section, relying on the beat and bass looping on a sampler which is somewhat of a hindrance but I guess born out of financial necessity for a touring band playing tiny venues. I find myself moving closer to the stage – everything else is played live so lovely twangy/vibrato guitar, the vocalist has a couple of synths and another keyboard player has a Moog connected to some analog FX and a Mellotron (well a digital version of same which does a very good impersonation of that classic Flute sound etc) with echoey vocals floating on top. Each track begins with the band calibrating and finding the right sound on their respective equipment, striking up the right drone before they launch in – and it’s enjoyable to watch them interact and try and keep the wayward machines in tune. They smile a lot. The music is all about atmosphere and mood and it just seems to work perfectly tonight – there’s a bit of magic in the room.
Engaged, respectful and very appreciative.
It made me think..
Gigs like this remind why I regularly venture into town on rainy night, braving public transport after a Spice Girls gig at the Etihad, to stand in a grotty gig venue with the Trainspotting style toilets and a plastic pot of lager in my hand. They play Lewes on 30 May and the Shacklewell Arms in that London on 31st – go see ’em.