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Neurotic Mass Movement / Cold In BerlinNeurotic Mass Movement
Cold In Berlin
Electrowerkz, London
Saturday June 2 2012

 

 

Once more into the post-industrial noisebox that is the live room at Electrowerkz. And if there's any band that can give the brutalist acoustics of this venue a good workout, then it's got to be Cold In Berlin.

All taut anxiety and nervy volatility, Cold In Berlin articulate overwrought existentialism to a crackling post-punky soundtrack. Vocalist My yelps and quivers and reaches out to the audience - I can't tell if she's trying to fend us off or if she'd like to throttle us. The band churns up a big, dark, racket, all overdriven guitar and tumbling drums. It's loud and insistent and the energy levels never drop.

All of which is just what we've come to know and love about Cold In Berlin, of course. We know they make a big, dark racket. We dig that big dark racket. But there's more. The band is shifting ground, now. We can hear that shift in tonight's performance - the set is mainly new songs. This is Cold In Berlin giving us a glimpse of their future. The guitars are heavying-up. The songs are becoming slower (for the Cold In Berlin value of slower, which is still pretty fast) and more menacing. That post-punky soundtrack is getting rocked up, just a bit.

Cold In BerlinI wonder if this is the cause or the effect of the band's recent signing to Candlelight Records, the black-metal-and-beyond label that has brought the world such rockmeisters as Altar Of Plagues, Blood Tsunami, and The Rotted.

Strange bedfellows for Cold In Berlin, perhaps. But you know what? Candlelight are probably a better bet for the band than signing to some uber-kewl Shoreditch-y boutique label that might not have much staying power.

Cold In Berlin mixing it with the big scary metal kids? Yeah, why not? On tonight's evidence, they're plenty tough enough to fight their corner.

If Cold In Berlin are changing, Neurotic Mass Movement are always changing. Tonight the band has a new line-up, and a new - what? Transformation? Transmutation? - of their sound. But they're still impeccably, implacably themselves. As soon as Yin Neurotic's vocal takes off on its swoops and spirals around the rafters, as soon as David DeSantos pushes his guitar beyond the blurred edges - yes, this could only be Neurotic Mass Movement.

But tonight, the sound is harder, starker, more new-wavey. That might have something to do with Hugo Santa Cruz, now on bass: his style is much more stripped-back and bare-bones than the more fluid, proggy playing of his predecessor, Rummy Keshet. There's more than just a different bassist going on here, though. The band have taken the opportunity to explore a new musical tangent, and the Neurotic Mass Movement machine is suddenly turning in a different direction. It's all a bit Cocteau Twins meets Cabaret Voltaire tonight, and I rather like it.

Neurotic Mass MovementThe band's tendrils of sonic fog wrap themselves around the prosaic hardware of the venue. The violin sweeps in and out, electronics squall and snark.

Yin pokes at a sampler with scientific detachment, then next miinute she's leaning over the edge of the stage, pluckin vocal passion from thin air. But behind all this, the rhythm is ever-present, as structured as scaffolding.

Next time I see Neurotic Mass Movement they'll probably be different again. This is a band that seems in a continual process of shift and change - but I hope this particular incarnation stays around for a bit, perhaps long enough to capture tonight's fuzzily tenebrous new wave dancefloor sound on record. That's Neurotic Mass Movement for you - always instantly recgnisable, never predictable.

 

Neurotic Mass Movement: Website | MySpace | Facebook

Cold In Berlin: Website | MySpace | Facebook

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

Find interviews with Cold In Berlin and Neurotic Mass Movement here,
and a Cold In Berlin album review here.

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