Live Review

NZCA/LINES, The Roundhouse, London

Intelligent and arty without losing the point of creating sparkling synth-pop, the new songs point to an even more coloured-in direction.

We arrive from the Siberian gales blasting across Camden and into The Roundhouse for this Handpicked gig just in time to see the start of East India Youth’s set. Above his head a large projection screen shows the world becoming smaller, shows a spaceship powering through the darkness.

Below it William Doyle, dressed in a hood and with just a bass guitar and laptop for company, looks a little lonely up there with the vastness of space behind him. But his desolate voice at the start of ‘Looking For Someone’ is completely captivating. As elements are added and it’s underpinned by Tim Hecker-style electronics it’s stunning. ‘Heaven, How Long’s’ pulsating space-age bursts of synths and ‘Dripping Down’, which sounds like a more esoteric Hot Chip, are also brilliant. So while he may look unassuming his talent is more than enough to bring to his superb ‘Hostel’ EP to life.

The space images floating behind match the music perfectly – as a disembodied voice starts naming small UK towns – ‘Worthing, Southam …’ – it seems wildly incongruous for a singer creating these futuristic soundscapes.

Dark Bells have no such problem filling the stage with their presence. The Sydney three-piece is immediately reminiscent of The Raveonettes. Their sound is dark, gothic and intoxicating but save for the psychedelic majesty of ‘Wildflower there’s nothing that seems to stand out tonight. There’s lots of churning guitar, bruising bass and pounding drums but you’re left waiting for the hypnotising, growling highs they promise.

Teleman’s appeal is just as instantly apparent but for very different reasons. They look like lovely fellas and their debut single ‘Cristina’’s magnetic charms are evident. Their sound is two parts Vampire Weekend, two parts Alt-J and a dash of Django Django too. The fact that they formed out of the ashes of indie band Pete and the Pirates shows that they certainly have an ear for a good melody. Their chiming guitars and sharp wordplay do the trick of getting the crowd swinging. There seem like more from where ‘Cristina’ came from: this set is full of exquisitely crafted pop with a quintessentially British whimsical edge.

It’s left to NZCA/Lines, known to his mum as Michael Lovett, to bring the show to a close. This is his biggest headline slot to date and he seems to be made for a stage like this. His beats are chunkier, the arrangements more lush and the synths that much more soaring to fill the cauldron that is The Roundhouse. He takes the glacial (apt in these weather conditions) bedroom funk of his album to build the songs and give them new life for the big stage.

The shimmering funk and falsetto of ‘Okinawa Channels’ sounds great and ‘Compass Points’ is bigger and better. Intelligent and arty without losing the point of creating sparkling synth-pop, the new songs point to an even more coloured-in direction. As the warming synths wash against you it’s easy to forget it’s now time to go back, once again, and brave the arctic blizzards.

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