So this is proof that it’s ok to have an inert, inexplicable distrust of Spotify, guys; when your internet’s down ‘cos your housemate hasn’t paid the bloody bill, where you gonna go? YOUR MUSIC DOES NOT EXIST. Unless you got a cache of records like mine, you’re going to have to bear all encompassing, suffocating silence – oh God, no, please, no spare yourself the horror… And go to your mates to pinch their internet so you can check Youtube out. If it wasn’t for the ‘Recommended’ section on said ‘tube, Weaves would’ve passed me by, and so I’m forever grateful to our Great Grand Google overlords.
So by the power and will of Our Search Engine Conglomerates who art in Heaven, I went over to the Prince Albert pub on Sunday to divert my attention from the miserable contemplation of events surrounding Roy “The Melancholic Womble” Hodgson’s resignation. Quick ciggy and a chat on the bench outside looked like it would extend itself; I don’t usually go in for support bands, ‘cos they make me nervous how unsure their stage presence is; a quintet of Tickle-Me-Elmos with side fringes is just not something that I wanna see. However…
There’s a right racket interrupting my progression with some Architecture post-grads, and I’m compelled to look up to where the amplified bumble-bee sound makes the windows quiver. Sounds mental – no EQ whatsoever on the bass and I swear the vocals are sampled from The Exorcist. So I leg it up there quick to find four lads bowing in violent rhythm, enslaved by their metallic dirge rock.
The foremost member of this lot is an acid-head’s nightmare, only an accordion strapped across his body prevents the whole pub from suffering from full frontal view of his tackle squashed into leopard-print budgie smugglers. Their sound is erratic. It jumps from System of a Down-style heavy mosh-outs to electro tinged interactions between the bass and accordion, which, through some pedal wizardry can sing like a guitar, or like a Casio keyboard.
They’re all clearly proficient musicians; the drummer has his top off, which always shows dedication, and the lead guitarist’s command of the frets is impressive. The stand out track for me is a dingy number, which begins with creeping bass and drum, and the singer moaning wretchedly about getting ID’ed in a pub. Then the rattle I heard from outside is employed once more; a synchronised groan from the guitarist and bassist interjects the rhythm and the glasses on a shelf next to me rattle. It’s like some kind of ominous, satanic homage to the low frequency bludgeons dealt out by modern EDM. It builds into a frenetic climax, in which the fuzz is dialled up and the half naked front man throws caution to the wind, battering his accordion regardless of the melodic outcome. Top stuff; my head’s still buzzing while I go to the merch stand to nab their free CD (they’re called WTVR [but confusingly have changed their name to Electravox since the gig. -Ed.] by the way, and yes, their loony-bin energy translates very well onto their recordings).
So Weaves then, an exhausting prospect after the insanity that preceded them. Weaves are one of my new favourite bands to be honest; they get it. The kind of it that Black Francis and Patti Smith get. They’re uncouth, and filthy, filthy, oh, so filthy. Bruised up blues rock taken out for a drive in an open back truck and left for dead on the sand-blasted highway. But so much more. I say they owe an awful lot to The Pixies; just the way they construct whole songs around seemingly innocuous anomalies to be found on a guitar neck. Often the songs are reminiscent of what you’ve heard before, but they’re twisted out of shape by being applied to a different rhythm, or injected with more drive, laced with gone-off amphetamine.
So ok, you say, they’re the 21st century Pixies, and so? Well you see they’re really not, because the main weapon in their arsenal isn’t their more than capable guitarist, it isn’t their ceaselessly inventive drummer, and it isn’t even their straight-to-the-point bassist. It’s the force of nature that manifests itself in the cutesy-pie, just-out-of-high-school-looking vocalist. She’s fucking fantastic. Like, not just technically (‘cos her voice is well good, like if Santigold and that lass from Alabama Shakes had a surrogate lesbian baby) but also she just physically makes a huge impression.
It’s all about how she interacts with the darkness that’s being generated behind her by the band. She plays all coy and cute, wearing an oversized pinafore dress and smiling sweetly as though she’s doing a charity concert. But she knows this for sure; she plays up to it immensely, not giving in to the temptation of adhering to traditional rock stage moves, she just shimmies about like a bridesmaid at a wedding disco, giving knowing winks and nods as she goes.
She manages to maintain this subdued temperament as the band veer from revved up, needling onslaughts of guitar such as Candy, to affectionate bounces like on Coo Coo. But the real one, the one, is Hulahoop. It’s like the blues manifest, but like someone has gone “Hey, blues, c’mon, get up man, it’s three in the afternoon”. It’s a stuttering, stop start collaboration between drums and bass, with the guitar flickering it’s tongue around the beat like a dozy rattlesnake. The singer, her grand majesty is in suitable dream-mode with her lamenting croon turning into a howl at the lyric-less refrain that’s augmented by wounded guitar-work. The best bit surely is the last verse’s lyrical melody; “Lazy bones me in the middle of the day” where the singer wrong-foots the crowd and emphasises day, turning the melody backwards and upwards.
They’re just so fucked up and sweet man – really, really, really. Their album’s out now, and if you go to Resident they have a sexy transparent pink edition, which I’m sure tastes like raspberry lollies if you lick it. Meanwhile, if you’re poor, appease Their Googliness and get on the Tube of You. And don’t forget to go here too ‘cos you’ll be astounded.
By Adam Morrison