Wintermute, The Screening, The Author @ 229, London 22 April 2009

April 27, 2009 by  

When you go to review a gig and the only people in the crowd are the bands and their friends, you can?t help but think what am I?m doing here? However, in my experience, these nights can either go one of two ways, either the bands are incredibly underrated or they?ve managed to get hold of the best producers in the business and record demo?s they?re not actually capable of. Well given that The Author are due to play the Camden Crawl on the weekend and The Screening are featured on a major Hollywood film soundtrack, I?m going to hope it?s the former.

Steve Lamaq?s new favourite band The Author look set to follow in the well trodden path of recent electro indie acts. Their mix of synthesiser bleeps with visceral guitars, underpinned by a pounding disco beat, sees them sit nicely within today?s scene. Their sound is caught somewhere between the futuristic electro of Metronomy and the frantic math-rock of Foals. However, there is more to them than the ?another electro band? tag. The due vocal of Christian and James adds an extra dimension to the band and by the time they reach Taxi they exhibit more traditional indie influences. The song is a frantic electro rehashing of an Arctic Monkeys-style garage rock tune, which will have most people heading for the dance floor.

Looking like the elder statesmen of the night, The Screening approaches the stage in a familiar look of eye wateringly skinny jeans and bouffant haircuts. Like an angry One Night Only, they play energetic indie pop that you can?t help but smile at. Diem which is recently featured on a Hillary Duff film trailer is a great slice of indie pop, which certainly doesn?t re-invent the wheel, but you can?t fault it. The lads , and there is no other way to describe them, look happy to being playing music that they love and are clearly not caught up in trying to find ?the new sound?. From The Beatles style ballard Light Show to the punk rock of ?Long Haired Lover?, The Screening show an array of influences from British rock?s greats, which they have channelled into their own midlands snarl.

Final act of the night Wintermute’s frenzied performance is reminiscent of At The Drive In at their chaotic best. Like The Thermals, they have enough shouty gulps and Foals style math rock beats to stir any crowd. The guitars are so jerky and angular you don?t know which way the song is going to go next, yet mixed in is enough of a pop aesthetic and sense of rhythm to keep it all together. This chaotic edge to the band makes them incredibly engrossing and exciting to watch. Front man Dave Howard is enigmatic throughout, his peculiar and unique style makes you think of an alternative version of Maximo Park?s Paul Smith. The superb lead lines of Dead or Not Dead lull the audience into a false sense of security before the crashing visceral riff of the chorus blows you away.

As we left the venue, the only reason we could think of for the sparse crowd was the ever worsening recession and not the standard of the music on offer.

By Chris Cummins

Photo by Josefine Stangberg