The shoe-less Sealionwoman are a unique proposition, even in a place as fertile for local talent such as Brighton. Their development is going to be interesting to watch. The set-up is a minimalist one, where the sole accompaniment for some glorious vocals is an inventively played stand-up bass. The voice is not the kind that you hear too often in Brighton pub backrooms, at the height of it’s powers it has an instantly soothing quality similar to Nina Simone. The double bass is utilised in an Abi Wade like variety of ways, including jazzy plucking, bowed drones and as auxiliary percussion, making a noise that has no trouble filling the room. Working within these limitations, they manage to produce a sound original, interesting and varied. As with most bands at this stage of development, the songs aren’t as memorable as they could be but the ingredients are clearly there to create something special.
Broker clearly don’t bother with any niceties as their harsh, abrasive and screamy, metallic hardcore start almost seems designed to scare off those who aren’t 100 per cent ready for them. It’s something of a shame because whilst undoubtedly they pack quite a punch when they want to, it is far from the only trick that they possess. The songs are generally propelled along at fast pace by the drums and bass, leaving the guitar free to shoot off sounds that vary from shoegaze to hardcore. Their default setting appears to be Jesus Lizard-esque but they change pace sufficiently enough to keep things interesting, visiting Sabbathy stomp, crawling blues and something that approaches prog before the half hour set is done. The most memorable track is a straight up punk number played toward the end of the set featuring some intense dual vocals.
It’s impressive to see the way in which Vile Imbeciles are growing up as a band, aided in no small way by the introduction a couple of years ago of bassist/vocalist Deen Lim. The band are now a 3 piece after the departure of Caspian Rospigliosi (guitars/vocals) and Liam Dowling (keys/guitars) from the line-up that produced thirs studio album D Is For W, itself a more streamlined, coherent effort than earlier recordings. This enforced simplification of the set up appears to have done them huge favours as it allows the band to focus on strengths. Namely Andy Huxley’s guitar which uses a mixture of jazz chords and a Black Keys/ White Stripes like desire to rock out, Deen Lim’s impassioned Mike Patton like vocals and Evan Reinhold’s drum-work which safely navigates numerous complex time changes.
More so than any other time in their history it seems a good time to catch Vile Imbeciles now ahead of the release of their as yet untitled fifth album. For those that found their earlier work impenetrable, the new material aired tonight as well of the selections from previous album D Is For W have numerous memorable hooks. Their live performance has also improved, Huxley now exuding the confidence that could be expected from a man that has his large experience of live performance, while his colleagues follow his exalted lead. This even stretches to Huxley good-naturedly reminding Lim to thank the supports at the end of the gig. Good teamwork.