Hypnotized – they can’t be the first to that band name surely – have a really bright future. At their heart I suspect lies a clash of influences that was betrayed by their visual identity. One wears a tremendous robe and plays the sort of guitar licks that I associate with the West Coast stoners on the Not Not Fun roster, another, who seems to handle the majority of the beats, appears to these eyes to be a hip hop kid. The third has that kind of anonymous look beloved of the boys from Animal Collective, including the tie-dyed drapes on his table. They play a mainly electronic set that has at its heart a desire to obfuscate beauty, to hypnotise if you like. At times they recall the psychedelic hip hop of Gonjasufi or Flying Lotus, whilst others bring to mind the Gang Gang Dance of St. Dymphna. The final song and set highlight is both uplifting and noisy in the same way as Fuck Buttons “Olympians” is. Their recently released EP Say It is available on a name your price basis on Soundcloud and is an excellent introduction. Also, the dancing coke can is a nice touch, don’t be told otherwise.
Bernholz is the solo moniker of Jez Burns, who with the help of Jim Morrison on drums, delivered a set of Bowie/Numan/Roxy Music influenced dark synth pop. There’s definitely an effort here to present something streamlined and memorable, however, outside the sleek charm of ‘Austerity Boy‘ there was very little else that didn’t require patience from the listener. I suspect they are fairly new to the live arena as there were some minor slips that interrupted the flow of the show. The good news though is all that can be worked on, Jez has a good voice and image for this style of music.
It hits me sometime during an incendiary “Entwined Pines” from Islet’s magnificent debut Illuminated People that they are one of the most fun live bands I’ve seen. During the song’s percussion heavy mid-section one Thomas brother is thumping the Hope’s mirrorball with a drumstick, whilst his sibling is in one of his many up close and personal moments with the crowd. This is despite a late start time meaning the Hope is at best half full as a result, I presume, of last bus/train issues. This is no “scream for me Brighton” fake posturing, these guys and girl absolutely love what they do and have an unshakable belief that you should to. To make the spectacle all the more interesting all four band members indulge in a revolving door of instrument swapping that not once interrupts the flow or quality of the songs. Even the vocal parts appear decided by committee. New album highlights ‘Triangulation Station’ and an especially frantic ‘Carlos’ came across as Deerhoof at their catchiest and, like Deerhoof, seem to have another trick round the corner. ‘What We Did Wrong’ is just about the best moment of the night where they come somewhere close to sounding like super influential krautrock legends Can.