From the sparsely scattered crowd who ventured to BLEACH on this cold Wednesday night in February, there are two truths which aren’t immediately clear to see. 1. INHEAVEN are tipped to be the next shoegaze revival act destroying amplifiers and eardrums in equal measure in the near future. 2. It’s a free gig!
Don’t fear though, despite the muted surroundings the band bound onto stage and erupt into life, with guitars rattling like old machinery alongside a steady monotonous drum beat as they sweep up a cyclical vortex of distorted sound around the venue. On record, this band occasionally fall into danger of being typecast as a prototypical ‘Tumblr blogger’s wetdream’, oft too easy to lay behind a video of swirling flowers and smoking cigarettes. Dreamy, indie, hipster. Not live. Live, the sound hits you like a punch in the chops.
INHEAVEN are a rare breed of a band that are able to present unmistakably poppy hooks, all anthemic choruses with plenty of ‘oooh-ing’, underneath a menacing wall of sound that will make you want to grow your hair out and buy a leather jacket. Imagine if The Vaccines decided to let The Jesus & Mary Chain’s roadie tune their guitars before they played a show and no one knew the words to any of the songs, then you’ve got it.
That’s not to say they’re derivative, though, as they run through the choice new selections from forthcoming singles and intertwine pop with post-punk to great avail. The bipolar shifting from the intensely loud sections of tortured rock to the more introspective yet-anthemic breakdowns draws the audience ever closer, taking them from toe-tapping politeness to passionate sing-along by the time the Julian Casablancas approved Regeneration closes the show.
As the emotional call of “I don’t want to bring you down/I just want to fuck around” fades away, and the final embers of the blistering finale begin to die down, the band don’t say a word. They just emphatically drop their instruments and disappear, leaving their screaming amps and a bout of early tinnitus in their wake. Clocking in at just over 20 minutes, it’s clear there’s much more still to come from this band. But that’s the exciting part.
By Lennon Craig