Friday, June 15, 2018

Live Review :: YVES/Red Rum Club/The Seamonsters :: Pirate Studios, Bristol - Jun 9 2018


YVES / Red Rum Club / The Seamonsters

Pirate Studios, Bristol

June 9 2018

Words/Pictures: Kieran O'Brien

Rehearsal rooms have historically been the domain of new ideas, unfinished songs and petty band squabbles. What they haven’t typically acted as is a platform from which acts can directly showcase their sound to the music industry. Pirate Studios have harnessed this untapped potential by inviting the acts who use their spaces to enter the ‘Pirate Prodigy’ competition, aiming to find the most exciting emerging live acts in the UK today. Over 2000 applicants were whittled down to four winners, and three of these acts take to the stage at Pirate’s original and rather impressive Bristol location.

First up are The Seamonsters from Sheffield, who intriguingly describe themselves as an ‘indie glitter’ band. The teenage six-piece have been compared to Pulp and Black Honey, and as the band rattle through their first two songs it is easy to see why. Frontwoman Naomi Mann evokes an impudence reminiscent of Jarvis Cocker or Elastica’s Julie Frischmann, while delivering a dreamy vocal between dissonant guitar and keys lines. ‘Are You With The Band’ is particularly impressive as Mann spits out an angry and vital feminist cry over polyphonic-ringtone keyboard lines, while Ciara Hurding’s dynamic drumming keeps ‘Hawaiian Space Bop’ and ‘L’amour Est Un Jeu Fou’ compelling and unpredictable. By the time closer ‘Lost and Found’ draws to an end there is no doubt that The Seamonsters are a very exciting prospect, and with so many years ahead of them are only likely to get better. Go catch them at a festival this summer.

Liverpool’s Red Rum Club, whose enthusiasm and dynamism is immediately infectious, draw heavily on Morricone and Tarantino wild Western sounds, most prominently evident in Joe Corby’s brazen trumpet lines. There is a sense that they have tapped into something unique amongst emerging British guitar bands. Imagine The Coral shot through a John Wayne Appreciation Society meeting to get an idea of the amalgamation of influences on show here. It is hard not to get drawn into Red Rum Club’s world by the energy of frontman Fran Doran, who bounces around the stage as if he’s trying to get the crowd on board; the sea of bobbing heads suggests he’s doing a decent job.

The Liverpool lads can write a tune too. ‘The TV Said So’ and ‘Calexico’ are instantly memorable, while ‘Hung Up’ displays the melodic capabilities of seminal Mersey groups Shack and Cast. As the sextet’s performance enters its second half there is the nagging sense that what makes them stand out initially could also be limiting their potential. These are very good songs. but with a trumpet and Americana guitar lines dominating every track there is a danger that the Western theme could be viewed as a gimmick rather than an influence. Having said that, the band’s closer ‘Would You Rather Be Lonely?’ is an excellent song with a massive chorus, and demonstrates that if Red Rum Club can wear their influences without restricting their songs, their future looks very exciting indeed.

Closing proceedings at Pirate Studios are Yves, a Swindon three-piece whose heavy post-punk sound is immediately compelling. Frontman Harry Roke brings a moody intensity to the room and demonstrates an impressive vocal range with a Queens Of The Stone Age-esque falsetto break in the band’s opener. It is inescapable that Yves perhaps do not possess the elements of originality that the two preceding bands have shown, and there is little in their sound on the face of it that distinguishes them from the plethora of acts playing riff-infused guitar music today. However, that is not to say that they are not captivating in their own right, and in songs such as ‘Get Some’ and ‘Hell From Your Hello’ the band possess intense and exciting tunes which demonstrate exactly why they emerged as one of the winning ‘Pirate Prodigy’ acts.

If Pirate Studios were hoping to demonstrate the eclectic talent using their studios across the UK, then they have certainly succeeded. Roll on Pirate Prodigy 2019.

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