Flowers and Sepia Sun make for unlikely stage partners; one band pursuing the sublime potential of vocals, the other throwing the role of vocals out the window. But if style is completely ignored the gap quickly narrows, when playing The Cookie together each act managed to achieve a level of intimacy all musicians aspire to.
Self-labelled as ‘Post-Rocktronica’ Sepia Sun bring a breath of fresh air to a genre all to often labelled as dead. Unlike the likes of Mogwai and Godspeed You! their music lies structured around Varney’s mixing. Combining the repetition and ambience of the electronic with the guitars of post-rock seems an obvious marriage, but it’s effect takes you by surprise.
Comments like, ‘We never really know where we’re going with that one’, after lengthy tracks with repetitious electronic effects reinforce the Post-Rock ethos of experimentation. As with watching any band of the genre, while not all tracks immediately captivate you, their performance itself is completely immersive.
Flowers, a band of few words, quickly introduce themselves and launch into ‘Be With You’. To little surprise it’s Rachel’s ethereal vocals which immediately captivate the audience, however, when the heavy pound of the drum comes in it draws attention to the noise-rock roots which might pass you by listening at home.
The distortion of the band’s jangly guitars, driven by the pounding drum, wouldn’t leave them a million miles from the likes of The Jesus and Mary Chain or The Wedding Present. Yet Flowers manage to defy shoegaze conventions, rather than decreasing the volume of the vocals they draw a sharp focus to them; like a stripped back Galaxie 500 where you can understand the words.
The band end on ‘Stuck’, made up just of a one string bass and Rachel’s vocals – a striking example of the dynamic at the heart of the band. It’s captivating, to say the least.
All photos from: Ami Barwell
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