Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Live review – 65daysofstatic, Asobi Seksu @ Oxford C***ing Academy

Fittingly for Guy Fawkes’ Night, both of tonight’s bands – shoegaze revivalists Asobi Seksu and math-metal post-rockers 65daysofstatic – owe something to Explosions In The Sky.

Asobi Seksu draw their influences – as every other blogger has already pointed out – from late ‘80s British indie ‘gazers like My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and Lush. On record, Yuki Chikudate’s feather-light vocals blend into the band’s hazy dreampop. Live, the two components work in opposition – the airy melodies floating on top of swelling blasts of guitar noise. Their straightforward, accessible take on shoegaze recalls EITS’ version of post-rock – all instant gratification, the free noise tethered by a tight, propulsive rhythm section that owes more to power pop than to Sun Ra. They give a solid, but not stellar set: the band only shifts the template for a closing run through Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions' ‘Suzanne’, which sounds awkward, if appropriately strung out.

Asobi Seksu – ‘Stay Awake’ (from Adult Swim’s Warm And Scratchy sampler)

65daysofstatic would be entirely comfortable knocking out tunes that replicate EITS’ trademark wash-of-delay-pedals. But the addition of laptops, drum-n-bass loops, and the occasional glam metal riff signals that they’re more interested in heading towards Battles’ territory. They lack the celebratory grooves and the sense of in-the-round musicianship and that Battles create live, opting instead for well-worn rock posturing and moody laptop manipulation. Initially, they’re thrilling – like Klaxons but with the pedestrian indie replaced by bursting post-hardcore and crushing doom-metal riffs, and with the soggy dance-pop replaced by malevolent breakbeats. But as the onslaught wears on, there’s an increasing sense of dislocation between the beats and riffs, as if the band are throwing everything at the wall, seeing what sticks. With a little ironing-out, 65daysofstatic could be one of the UK’s best live bands. At the moment, they’re closer to a humourless version of the Rock Of Travolta.

65daysofstatic - 'don't go down to sorrow'

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