Any doubts that we’re enjoying a full-scale shoegazing revival are demolished in the first few minutes of [a]Beatglider[/a]’s set. Hailing from Canvey Island, initial reports suggested some kind of Flaming Lips tribute band, but tonight there’s that same ebb and flow of sound and, er, enigmatic lack of stage presence that once marked out the likes of [a]Slowdive[/a].
Lee Hall and Matt Randall stand hunched over their guitars coaxing soporific swathes of sound out of their amps, and keeping their too-delicate-for-this-life vocals to a minimum. It’s frequently a case of spot the influences – everything from Ride to Joy Division – but the intensity and grace of songs like ‘Fall Into My Arms’, where Spacemen 3‘s drone-rock meshes seamlessly with Mercury Rev’s spaced-out whimsy, are irresistible.
After which, Jumbo sound somewhat heavy-handed. There are seven of them, they come from Newcastle and they look like they got left behind when The Grateful Dead quit town. None of which matters to start with as they stomp through some heroic, brass-laden pop on ‘Sirocco’, which sounds like The Beach Boys discovering Stax. But then the band – possibly over-excited that this is the launch party for their debut album – decide to play at being stadium rock gods.
Singer Richard Maclean is howling at the moon, as guitarist Ben Wilkinson trawls through a few too many solos. Moments of frantic psychedelia almost save the day, but often it’s crushed under too much ham-fisted bombast.
Big, as is so often the case, isn’t always better.