Live Reviews

  The Sound of Arrows, The Baltics, Desolation Yes! live at King Tuts in Glasgow

It’s small world time. I barely make it into the venue before I bump into Dr Ruth of XMRV (reviewed but a few days earlier). She says that I write funny reviews. Maybe it is her Norwegian accent but that sounded like a portent of doom. My impending doom.  Think I’ll stay in the light tonight.

Sounds like it might be a retro night tonight judging from the opening act Desolation Yes! The pulsing beats of old style electro rock bounced off the walls with metronomic precision narrowly missing the scattered outposts of audience. Yes folks, dear old King Tuts wasn’t exactly full tonight and, despite the valiant efforts of Desolation Yes!, you need a crowd to best appreciate this kind of music.

With big happy smiles and a bunch of familiar keyboard riffs, The Baltics took to the stage. Seemingly determined to spread their good natured, dramatic – and occasionally cheesy – synth pop everywhere, they got people up from the bar downstairs.  They’ve got a sense of fun lacking in so many bands in this part of the world – along with a bass player with remarkable taste in shirts - making for a refreshing half hour that would gladden the heart of the most cynical amongst us. Like me, for example.

Headlining were four piece Swedish band The Sound of Arrows. Using back projection to add a visual element, they nonetheless fell foul of an age old problem of synth pop bands. If all you have is a bunch of synthesisers and some electronic percussion then you run the danger of sounding like you are miming to backing tracks. Given the similarity – oops, I meant consistency of course – of their songs and you’re left with a Pet Shop Boys meets Vangelis vibe that didn’t really engage the ears. Even the fey prancings of the lead singer got old quickly.

I figure that’s more than enough reason to drive a man to drink. Time for a sharp exit.

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