There isn’t a story that warms our hearts here at Brighton Noise as much as a local act achieving the recognition they deserve through hard work, talent and vision. The Soft Walls – originally a solo outlet for Cold Pumas guitarist and Faux Discx label head Dan Reeves – only last year began gigging with a line-up including members of Sauna Youth and Sealings. It was clear from early shows that something special was fermenting in the form of their second album No Time.
Released last month No Time delivered a post-punk/shoegaze/ kraut hybrid that should appeal to fans of Deerhunter, Women or Hookworms, though they don’t ape any of those three acts. It has achieved no shortage of critical acclaim and because of that they played to a pleasingly full room at The Prince Albert. The band in no way wasted the opportunity.
Commencing with the dreamier more reflective material from No Mind, including the warm Phil Spector meets Women fuzz of album opener ‘Won’t Remember My Name,’ it’s wasn’t until the monster-motorik groove of ‘All The Same’ that the crowd really started to engage and move. From that point on it was a real celebration, with new album highlights like the glorious chord sequence that underpins ‘Guided Through’ and the massive throbbing bassline of huge krautrock closer “Never Come Back Again” sandwiching the fragile Velvets in slow motion of the debut album’s ‘Black Cat.’ It seems a shame that the band, now so obviously tight and practiced play their last gig for sometime supporting Hookworms at The Haunt on Friday 15 August. We implore you to go, it’ll be some show.
Opening the night was Van Stonholdt who struggled gainfully through his set without some malfunctioning equipment, just leaving his not unimpressive psych-guitar and voice. The last track was a new one that had considerable promise. Another time hopefully.
Brighton 3-piece Teardrop Factory flew out of the traps with their ultra-catchy ‘Stolen Skull,’ all low slung dirty bass, simple but driving rhythms and scratchy guitar work. Slightly atypical of Faux Discx recent output, they are reminiscent of Guided By Voices with their short, catchy but fuzzy indie-rock. Though there is nothing quite as attention grabbing in the rest of the set, they ensure that attention’s don’t wander too far.
If they didn’t have a Brighton fan club before the show, second on the bill, all female 3-piece Feature do now. Their set was the first of the night to garner significant communal affection. The Londoner’s performance was bookended by two fantastic songs, the closer ‘Psalms’ being the best. More Vivian Girls than Bikini Kill their low-fi alt-rock benefits from some occasionally unpolished but effective 3-way vocal harmonies that keeps things interesting. There’s a flash of ‘Love Buzz’ here and a snippet of ‘Barely Legal’ there which all adds to the charm of a well constructed and effective set.
Finally, a big shout out to The Innerstrings Psychedelic Lightshow whose trippy illuminations never fail to improve any gig they’re at.