I’m leaning against the outer wall of The Hope & Ruin, head tilted a little higher than usual to allow my musical antennae to fully get the benefit of what a young woman is telling me. Her words tumble in an excited jumble as she tells me that we should consider ourselves privileged to have a chance such as this; The Myrrors, having formed in 2007, disbanded in 2009, and then re-banded in 2012, so, according to the lady, we are lucky that the band are banding at all, let alone banding in the Hope & Ruin for a pittance of eight quid a ticket.
So I clamber up the stairs with more enthusiasm than I otherwise might have, rocketing through the swing doors where I can hear some guitar that is gloriously, liberally drenched in echo. The watery-wellington guitar effect belongs to New Candys; they are filling the musical void before The Myrrors with some void-music. They are retro-psych personified; everyone in the band has purchased matching brown Chelsea boots, and they shoot wry glowers toward the crowd through lank, dark fringes. Their sound too is so perfectly exemplary of this style; guitar ripples over stocky, uncomplicated beats that lock in with an authoritative bass guitar. All very nice, well executed, dig it man.
And I do, though I do find myself wondering whether I should’ve just listened to a Brian Jonestown Massacre Record. But just-you-hang-on-a-moment-there-son! Cast your eyes stage left and you will witness New Candy’s trump card in action; the lead guitar player seems to be having some kinda fit à la Ian-Curtis. He’s wriggling about and stomping wildly, as though his guitar’s turned into a giant man eating slug* and it’s this compelling stage-work that means my attention is reinvested in them. The guitarist’s antics perfectly fit with his instrument’s ragged interjections to the swirling sound of the rest of the band; it adds some rigidity to the sun-bleached echo-vocals, and provides some much needed screech to the otherwise dreamy set.
A crowd invasion from the wild-card guitar player closes New Candy’s set in an exciting fashion and I’m compelled to swallow a whisky before the entrance of the mysterious Myrrors. I don’t see them mount the stage, perhaps they rose up out of the carpet, or accessed it through a dimensional rift in the bass drum, but, regardless, they are here now, five of them, with enough hair for fifteen, all with eyes closed, rattling various small bells and hand percussions into microphones as the left-most member slowly ekes out a moonlight tone on a violin.
If New Candys were music about the void, then this is music made of void. The opening drone lingers through the rest of this first song which I am sure nears the twelve-minute mark, the rattling bells too, are a constant behind a leisured yet malicious bass-line that grounds the sonic inventions of the lead guitar.
I must admit that I am finding it very difficult to recount exactly what I heard last night but I suppose the nearest I can come to is “a more melodious take on The Black Angel’s Death Song with less words and lasting ten times longer”. This, sadly, does not really do The Myrrors justice, as it severely under-represents the ingenuity of the musicians in the band. The violinist, for me, was definitely the stand out member; he managed, somewhere around the middle of the set, to introduce a kind of unsettling, Arabic melody into the band’s already dark forays into a sound that could be described simultaneously as night-terror and Technicolor day-dream.
Regretfully, I had to wake up; the final clattering spasms of the lead guitarist shook the whole crowd from a trance; sonic explosions shattered our hypnotic state and sent us homewards. I left The Hope & Ruin changed; eyes glazed, ears ringing with the memory of bells, with only a note in my phone to guide me: “The Myrrors – Arena Negra. BUY IT.”
By Adam Morrison
*This is actually a real thing… http://slugsolos.tumblr.com