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Thought Forms/Gentleman’s Relish (live at The Lamb)

The Lamb, Devizes
8 February 2013

Gentleman’s Relish are a wicked combo, a spiky pop duo of tight guitar evolves, countered by neat percussive candy. Those quirky poetics of lyric, comically charged and made further so by the drummer’s Bill Bailey mannerisms. A lot of sweet action indeed: that switch-a-roo guitar slashing in an angelic upstart-esque insistence as the syllables broke across your head in a bank of warm jets. The howler monkey finale raising a surreal Pearl’n’Dean wah-wah, the cherry topping to their rather short set; really looking forward to another EP appearing from these boys really soon.

Gentleman's Relish and Thought Forms at The Lamb

The lighting is suitably dimmed for Thought Forms, Deejus cross-legged, chanting out a spiral of voice, swaying in a nest of undulating textures and Plexiglass burrs. The well-paced effect washes filling your headspace as everything grows out, sinewy and slow, that Hulusi flute snaking the dew as pre-dawn light is summoned by Guy‘s dirgic drum footfalls and shivering cymbals. Charlie’s vocal vapours rising on a vibrating bed of pure electric,  guitar lines overlapping, then everything exploding in rich and colourful waves of elasticised energy. Totally killer! What an opener…  Somebody shouts “Original music,” the crowd second it with a resounding “Fuck, yeahhh!”

The chiming celebrations of “Ghost Mountain you and me” follows, all strummed drone goodness, secondary guitars weaving the loose drum forays. Charlie’s vocals ascending as the instrumentation continues to pyre build, then, as if a match is struck, incendiary, ember-chased in afterglows. The deliciously jaded pop sensibilities of “Sans Soleil” and “Only Hollow” get an outing too, their veering currents and dual vocal bleeds the perfect prescription to ousting the grey winter gloom. Bright couriers indeed, track after track eating happily into my head like termites of sussed up pleasure collapsing into off-cuts of noisy growls and tipping ambiances. Songs that bleed passion, expectation… fuzzy abandon… “Song for Junko”’s blazing oomph making me lose it completely in crazy arm flails and body swerve.

By the time they finish, the crowd crammed into this tiny space is absolutely crazy for more, which the threesome gleefully oblige in a yawning Bolan-esque Tungaska of an encore. This new material is their best yet, and no doubt eligible for a Mercury Prize nomination or two.

Thank you Sheer Music, for bringing some much needed va-va-vooom to sleepy old Devizes…

-Michael Rodham-Heaps-

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