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Maria And The Mirrors
PeepholesThe Lowest Form

Power Lunches, London
Friday April 27 2012


We've certainly got a hot one here. Power Lunches doesn't believe in fripperies like air conditioning (or ventilation, or windows, or oxygen), and tonight this Dalston cellar - never exactly a place of refreshing airs at the best of times - is crowded, stifling, and approximately the same temperature as Death Valley at mid-day. Hairstyles are wilting, metal objects are melting. And the bands haven't even started yet.

So let's bring on our openers. Peepholes make an unfeasibly large racket from their minimalist drums 'n' electronix set-up. It's somewhere between trancey and dynamic, insistent and hypnotic, the rhythms rattling along like trains and the electronic sonics adding to the push and pull. The vocals - such as they are - amount to occasional yelps and ululations amid the crashy-fuzzy noise, a human voice employed as a sound source rather than to deliver words. And if, amid the racket, Peepholes occasionally drop a hint or two at conventional song structures - that's all they are. Just hints. Peepholes could probaly write perfectly normal indie-pop songs if they wanted to. But their train runs on different tracks.

Now, here's one for the lads. The Lowest Form are scruffy, blokeish, and play an overdriven hardcore noise-blast that makes the likes of Fucked Up sound like the twittering of little birds. The guitars are massive. The drums are thunderous (the drummer is wearing a Discharge T-shrt - now that's a statement of intent right there). The singer rants and writhes and hollers and plunges into the crowd. The crowd plunges right back at him. Within a couple of songs, the room becomes a sweat-soaked swirl of bodies as the gig turns into one big play-fighting brawl. 

Lowest Form

It's all a lot more controlled than it looks, mind - the band keep it tight even as they crank it up, and the play-fighting never escalates into anything dangerous. As the singer crashes to the floor with assorted audience members on top of him, it occurs to me that this is really a bit of a male-bonding thing - a chance for the lads to get sweaty and physical and grapple with each other in a way that I suspect they'd never do outside the safety zone of a gig. It might seem a bit odd to describe The Lowest Form's musical and physical assault and battery as a safety zone, but when you boil it all down, this is all one big ritual. Noise. Blokes. Sweat. Play-fighting. And all under controlled conditions.

Maria And The MirrorsMaria And The Mirrors are no strangers to noise and rhythm, of course. In fact, noise and rhythm are, in a nutshell, what Maria And The Mirrors do. But they're no earnest experimentalists. We're a long way from the studied dourness and furrowed-browisms of the powernoise set.

The band present themselves as surreal sci-fi glamsters, all togged up in custom made PVC outfits like they've just stepped off the set of a fetish remake of Barbarella. (Incidentally, every time I've seen Maria And The Mirrors they've been wearing new outfits, which is impressive in itself. But I do wonder what happens to their old outfits. Their local Oxfam shop must have some interesting stock.)

Tonight,with the crowd crammed up the front in rainforest-like conditions of heat and humidity, Maria And The Mirrors plunge into their set as if leaping off a cliff into a whirlpool. Their dual-drummer thunder sounds like a cavalry stampede; electronics fizz and jitter like mad science. Vocals keen and shriek over the top of the melee. Somewhere in the racket is their new single, 'Gemini Enjoy My Life', and there's certainly a gleeful zest about the way the band machine-guns the crowd with their manic tribalism.

But for all that, it's not just noise. Well, OK, it's mostly noise. But there's structure in there, too. The bare bones of Proper Songs lurk in the hammering noise-storm, and here we glimpse the secret of Maria And The Mirrors: somewhere out there, in a parallel universe, they're a pop group. Now that's hot.




Maria And The Mirrors: Website | Facebook

The Lowest Form: (No website that I can find...)

Peepholes: Website | Facebook

For more photos from this gig, find Maria And The Mirrors by name here.

Find a Maria And The Mirrors single review here.
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