[a]Tram[/a]'s intricate set conjures up an image of [a]Nick Drake[/a] fronting [a]Spacemen 3[/a], all sweet mumblings and quietly confident drones...

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London Kentish Town Forum

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London Kentish Town Forum

The chairs are missing. “Someone’s stolen the chairs,” a [a]Whistler[/a] person says. “We’ll have to get more.” Blimey, it’s all go tonight. The [a]Whistler[/a] plan, which largely involves sitting down, appears to be scuppered, and to make matters slightly more uncomfortable, support stars [a]Tram[/a] have done the indecent thing and played what could loosely be termed ‘a blinder’.

Or perhaps we’re being short-sighted. Certainly [a]Tram[/a]’s intricate set conjures up an image of Nick Drake fronting Spacemen 3, all sweet mumblings and quietly confident drones. Open your eyes, of course, and what you see is a ramshackle bunch nudged into shape by diminutive conductor Paul Anderson, and a sound that teeters on post-rock’s cluttered threshold, but which, on the final, hypnotic ‘Been Here’, soars above any contrived conventions.

Whistler’s preferred route, on the other hand, is the scenic option, and their mode of transportation classic, if a little battered. The [a]Whistler[/a] method parallels that of their aristic namesake: excellent craftsmanship and application, rather unnerving subject matter. For beneath that quaint, folksy exterior carved by Ian Dench (the sensible one in EMF) Kerry Shaw sings flighty tales of suicide and rotten relationships.

True, we’ve been here before and really, All About Eve rocked this pained Plath angle with equal conviction. Just sometimes, it seems, the past is the best place to live.