Lo-fi yet heavy hitting, Male Bonding provide the heat on a sticky Monday evening. Getintothis’ Matt Eland gets refreshed.
The Shipping Forecast cellar smells of milk. That’s Organ Freeman, two drummers and two singers jerking along to a midi backing track, and they smell really bad.
They look like they’ve spent their adolescences hunched in darkened rooms, listening to Wheatus and swigging two litre bottles of panda pop while playing 16-bit console games, waiting to blast their pent up aggression out in the form of a Lonely Island channelling MGMT baiting fight-pop group.
They’re threateningly camp, the audience creating a cautious semi-circle around the stage.
It’s not until mid-set when they play an inexplicably straight cover version of Jimmy Eat World‘s The Middle that they make a kind of sense, as the tribal rhythms slip out of synch with the backing track.
Perhaps focused precision isn’t the point here, but something quite intricate is close to fruition. They end on a high, with a song that has it’s own dance called The Wirral Crab, the movements of which seem to involve the singers running about tickling everyone’s belly.
‘Please don’t take any pictures because our father’s don’t know what we’re doing,’ they claim. I bet they’re telling the truth.
When someone calls their band The History of Apple Pie, those twee-ometer alarm bells start to ring, so it’s a nice surprise when the wall of sound starts.
They pull off the trick of not appearing to be in control of their instruments while being technically proficient at the same time, which seems to suggest that they’re still finding their feet.
The hazy dreamscape vocals are a little lost in the mix and it’s a shame we can’t hear what’s being sung; but we’ll probably get a better idea of the subtleties within on record. One to keep an eye on.
I always felt that on their first record Male Bonding sounded too shrouded in lo-fi reverb, too cloaked in the aura of the practise studio and that they deserved more of the volume and impact of their live show.
Robin Silas Christian on the drums is a heavy hitter, and it’s his fierce metronome that guides them through the hazy desert spindrift.
They sound like burnt tarmac tonight; it’s a Monday night and summer is dying but it’s still warm out side.
It definitely works in the lactose-infused dungeon arena, where so many other bands have been lost in the muddled catacombs; the EVOL/Wingwalker team have played another blinder in getting them down here. It’s been a thrill.