Arrows Of Love
Tuesday October 15 2013
Here come God Damn, doing their early-Sabbath thing, all hair and riffs and flailing...and making a big noise for a band that's now trading as a guitar and drums two-piece.
It must be said that God Damn are all about the sound,
rather than the songs. They have mighty riffs aplenty, but you'd be hard
pressed to find a tune you can whistle. Still, if it's rock you want, they've
got lots of it.
And now a band that's all about the songs. Tonight Vuvuvultures are a pop group sandwiched between two rock bands, but they've got more than enough fire, brimstone, sharp angles and interesting edges to hold their own. They're a very rhythmic band: their songs are built upon taut, economical drums and a no-messing grunt 'n' growl bass sound, coloured in by judicious guitar and keyboards.
In 'Cntrl Alt Mexicans' they have a weirdo pop classic, but even here, when the band are at their most accessible, their rhythmic bump and grind wallops off XOYO's back wall in suitably punchy style. In front of all this, Harmony Boucher, on vocals and random ballet moves, maintains a cool presence, half way between detachment and engagement.
It occurs to me that Vuvuvultures are probably only one music biz marketing campaign away from superstardom - if they wanted to go that way.
But the interesting edges of the band probably wouldn't
survive the process. Long live the sharp angles, that's what I say.
I remember seeing an early incarnation of Arrows Of Love several years ago, possibly at the Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, or the Old Blue Last, or somesuch East End designer dive. I have a fuzzy memory of lots of long-haired blokes in blue denim, rockin' out like a junior version of Status Quo.
But that was then, and this is now. Tonight we're at yet another East End designer dive, and Arrows Of Love have refined their art a bit. Out goes the denim (well, most of it: the guitarist sports a distressed denim jacket until the show hots up enough for him to remove it) and the key influences seem to be punk 'n' grunge, rather than old school riffage.
The band isn't entirely a bunch of blokes these days, either. Three boys and two girls kick out the jams with a gung-ho exhilaration that's messily infectious. Everything is played fast and disorderly, guitars colliding like runaway trains, vocals hollered out as if the singer is trying to hail a ship in a hurricane.
For all that,
I suspect the band's gleeful pandemionium isn't quite as random as it first
appears. I bet they've rehearsed
blithe chaos to the hilt before unleashing it on stage.
Did I say that everything is fast and disorderly? Well, not quite. Arrows Of Love have a surprising interlude of delicacy in their otherwise seamless repertoire of rampant sturm und drang.
'The Knife' drifts in, an unexpected slice of
spooked delicacy amid all the churning and roaring. It's a little slice
of haunted frailty that suddenly stamps on the gas and transorms itself
into a thunderous heavy-duty workout. It's proof that Arrows Of Love can
handle that mysterious dynamics stuff - they're not all about the freaking
Although, it must be said, Arrows Of Love are mostly about the freaking out. And they're freaking good at it.
For more photos from this gig, find Arrows Of Love and Vuvuvultures by name here.