As post-rock has gradually congealed into a coherent movement, the first signs of post-rock purism have begun to emerge. The arrival of Billy Mahonie on the fringes of the British experimental pop underground last year had many of the newly-declared arbiters of slacker cool decrying them as failed indie-pop chancers. Billy Mahonie, it seems, were going to spoil the cosy insularity of the post-rock community by dragging it into the mainstream. This, then, was to be the |ber-noodle that even your kid sister could enjoy – a prospect which had the cool cats in paroxysms of disgust.
Well, maybe it hasn’t quite worked that way for the Hackney-based four-piece, but at times during this beguiling evening of semi-pop music, you can see why they had so many worried. While the more severe end of experimental music can seem to deliberately antagonise, terrify or bore the listener into submission, Billy Mahonie‘s ambient rock aesthetic is much more inclusive. Lilting opener ‘We Accept American Dollars’ bubbles like a shiny lava lamp and, to those of a more classic rock bent, doesn’t sound that far off Fleetwood Mac‘s instrumental hit ‘Albatross’.
Moreover, though there is never the merest hint of vocals, twin guitarists Hywell and Gavin both have mics onstage to chat to the audience between songs. In the austere world of avant-rock this is an innovation, if not outright sacrilege.
The detailed twang continues through the serene ‘Man With The Woman Head’, the juddering power-chord assault of ‘Flagiolettes’ and eventually screeches to a halt with the clanking, rhythmic assault of ‘Bress Lore’.
“Unbelievable,” shrieks one excitable convert as Billy Mahonie shamble offstage. Wouldn’t go as far as that, tiger, but it should certainly make the cognoscenti think.