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GenuflexGenuflex
Underbelly, London
Friday November 26 2010

 

 

 

Well, someone's certainly got the blues tonight. The stage at the Underbelly - one of those Hoxton basements that's cool, but probably not quite as cool as it thinks it is - is entirely bathed in blue light. It's like, how much more blue could the light be? And the answer is none. None more blue.

I don't know if this is intentional - some sort of conceptual aesthetic on the part of the band; after all, they do have a song called 'Blue Devotion' - or just because nobody's tweaked the faders on the lighting desk. Either way it suits Genuflex, for there's a certain austere introspection to this band. A touch of the blues fits them very well.

Genuflex are a new outfit, tentatively taking their first gig-steps. But the band's main man is no tyro. On vocals and guitar, standing at the mic looking severe but slightly haunted, is Finn Vine, ex-White Rose Movement, a band which foundered on the rocks of their difficult second album a while back. Genuflex are something of a tangent to the past, for the post-punk punch of White Rose Movement has been replaced by something rather more spectral.

Genuflex's songs are haunted ballads, hymns from after dark. The band generates an unearthly thrum. There are no rock 'n' roll histrionics, but there's certainly an understated power to the music, and a downtempo fuzz and grind that recalls the Jesus And Mary Chain at their most existentially romantic. Finn Vine sings in a spooked croon. It's as if he's chanelling Roy Orbison fuzzily through the ether: the music has jagged edges, but those edges are spun with sonic fog. Genuflex eschew the hackneyed effects of rock 'n' roll - there's nothing so obvious as a smoke machine on stage - but even so, it's as if the songs are coming at us through smoke, fuzzy and indistinct until they crystallise into things of blue cut-glass before our ears.

 And yes, 'Blue Devotion' makes perfect sense in this setting. Understated they may be, but Genuflex make an impact.

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For more photos from this gig, find Genuflex by name here.

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