Now / The Double - Buffalo Bar
Imagine a peaceful pond, in the middle of the country, on a hot summers day. Imagine gently dropping a pebble into this pond. Look, see how the ripples softly rise and spread out? Sometimes, 'Now' sound a little bit like the sonic equivalent of those ripples. A mild, organic sound from out of which arise gentle melodies that rise and fall. Then, there are other times when 'Now' sound like the school bully, clad in ill-fitting green wellies, stomping around our pond and hurling in breezeblocks in an attempt to squash frogs. 'Now' start the set by proudly announcing the fact that they are about to play nine songs and, to begin with at least, you'd have a difficult time telling where one starts and another stops. Gradually, though, it begins to make sense. There's a lot of sonic doodling involved with 'Now', which you might expect given the 'Can' comparisons that have been made, and there are times when it's curiously un-involving. The band are having a good time, though, and you are clearly invited along with them if you make the effort. It's an effort that's worth making and, by the end of the set, they've won more than a few people over. 'Now' are absolutely at their best when they drop the guitars and start fiddling with the Moogs and other electronic toys they have on the ridiculously overcrowded stage. This is when the breezeblocks start flying and the once gentle 'Now' melt into a sort of squidgy electronic funk that's at once arresting, moving and could well be highly addictive.
'The Double', on the other hand, are the musical equivalent of a bad pint. A bad pint of 'reverb' with a fuzz chaser and possibly a packet of shoegazer flavour crisps on the side. We must forgive them the poor sound, dear reader, as it's clear they've run to the gig as fast as their little legs could carry them, from the dreaded Islington Academy where they are currently supporting 'Interpol' on their UK tour. Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, the opening song they've decided to try and win us over with is practically un-listenable. It's possibly intentionally so, and, to be honest, it doesn't sound at all bad. A sort of 'My Bloody Valentine-esque' feedback drenched nightmare, underneath which rough hints of melody can just about be heard. Are they meant to sound like this? Let's hope so, because it's damned good. They probably do mean to sound like this, because that reverb based noise keeps returning, like last night's curry, throughout the set. There's a sort of heavy psychedelic sixties vibe going on here as well, not exactly prog, but more punk-prog if such a thing exists. Well, it does now, because we say so. Strong bass lines and acid tinged chords all the way, but always there's a sense of menace just underneath the surface; a sense that at any time, 'The Double' will simply lose control and that reverb noise will explode once more to the surface. It's tense, exciting and thoroughly involving. While they're in the UK, they're recording a John Peel session and you're strongly advised to look for it, if you miss the live show.
Free entry can be obtained to all Artrocker gigs that happen on a Tuesday at the Buffalo Bar simply by visiting the Artrocker website and registering as a member. It’s easier than falling off a log and completely free.