London WC2 School Of Economics

Still relatively green as a live entity,[B] Fridge[/B] appear to perform in a state of awed mild panic...

Those who disparage that which is called post-rock for being ‘faceless’ don’t know the half of it. Thanks to the legendarily restricted confines of the 12-Bar, unless you’re one of the lucky two-dozen closest to the stage, the balcony’s overhang serves to render Fridge‘s lofty ringmaster Kieran Hebden actually without a head.

To compound this initial sense of occlusion, a recalcitrant PA seems bent on reminding tonight’s tenants that its modest attributes are more normally called upon to cope with acoustic sessions or the odd poetry reading. “Has it really blown?” enquires incredulous Fridgeman Adem Ilhan, a solitary pulsating drone-symphonette down the line. “Maybe,” comes the soundman’s sardonic reply. Youngsters these days, eh? What with their jazz records and sensitive, vocal-free assimilation of all things avant. You offer them a New Deal and a Third Way, then they go all fifth columnist and try to turn the clock back. In Fridge‘s case, however, this south London trio’s primitive electronica and fervent ruminations on the evolutionary path of The Riff suggest a trip back to a future of sorts, not dissimilar to the point where New Order began demonstrating how a rock band could unshamefully make dance music: the motorik groove, expansive synth interjections and bass leads of incorrigible forcefulness, all present in effusive harmony on opener ‘Zed Ex Ay-Ti-Wan’.

Still relatively green as a live entity, Fridge appear to perform in a state of awed mild panic. After swapping his keyboard for bass, Ilhan wrings his hands frantically, perhaps half in preparation for the impending fret frolics. When he and Hebden throttle the noodly spectre of King Crimson through their math-rock computer and end up with ‘Swerve And Spin’, their palpable joy at its bonny demeanour explodes the myth that this music need necessarily be a dour, point-scoring homage to academia.

Nay, Fridge are preservation terrorists, blasting out an unexpectedly human missive from the ice-box.