This Scottish band is so close to being something I might actually like. Give them another album or two to come up with a unique sound and they really might be onto something.
Alas, right now they sound suspiciously like someone dropped the lead singer of the Proclaimers into a band that can’t decide if they’re covering Coldplay or U2. They’re less overproduced than Coldplay while also being less enthusiastic than U2, which made for a disappointing blend of sounds. For my taste, I’d like to see them use a little more lyrics and less long instrumental solos with the bass and drums.
In their defense, they might not have intended to have such long interludes. The band went on considerably late due to technical difficulties. The first song sounded pretty good, but then the poor guys were suddenly a mess of cords and wires as they tried to keep playing. I’m not sure what the problem was on the east stage, but it made me sympathetic enough I’ll check them out on YouTube rather than judge their performance based on circumstances beyond their control.
I will, however, viciously judge based on their choice of name. I’m a big fan of Nerdcore music from Jonathan Coulton to Optimus Rhyme. If you’re going to give yourself a pretentiously science-fictiony name, I expect to see a little geek influence in your material.
They started the set with a static woman's voice reading put numbers in binary. It felt a little like a cross between Lost’s Dharma Initiative and a shuttle launch. It was a very good start. Once it was over, they were finished acknowledging their name.
I think this is a poor choice for them. I stumbled across two fans rabid enough they showed up in 90 degree heat wearing homemade cardboard jetpacks. If you can get that kind of enthusiasm out of your fans, they will proselytize your music for you. Play it up, guys, rather than playing it down. Courting subcultures can be fun.
Right now, I’d say the band’s biggest problem is they’re too conservative. They don’t want to risk playing up to a subculture. They don’t want to risk any sounds outside the two most popular bands to come from their corner of the world. Heck, they were even dressed in a uniform of plain black t-shirts and khakis.
Give them some time to loosen up and get comfortable in their own identity and I think we were promised jetpacks could become a band well worth listening to.
Photo credit Chris-Rachael Oseland.