His Name Is Alive have brought from the American Midwest a selection of songs which have been described as “haunting”, “angelic”, “quirky” pop.
Writer-guitarist Warren Defever has been recording and producing for 10 years using a “junk rock work ethic”. He is fascinated by fusions of eclectic and unconventional sounds. The new album, Someday My Blues Will Cover the Earth is said to be the most “sonically conservative” of his works.
On this occasion, the terminally trendy and the tragically hip were gathered at the Arts Cafe. Here, “alternative” is compulsory. In their super-cool way, the audience showed great appreciation for the band’s efforts.
The feel was understatement a la Kings of Convenience: acoustic wallpaper with a stripe of self-pity. Downbeat, offbeat lo-fi lounge.
Jazz and blues influences were discernible in the texture and movement of the vocals. Despite the lacklustre and tuneless backing of guitar and bass, the singing was impressive. Lovetta Pippen had a precise range and expressive power to her voice.
The songs, however, sounded monochrome and formulaic. The tempo never shifted from second gear. The content was that of current R’n'B: light-weight liquid “lurve”.
If musical evolution applies, this was possibly apres-punk, deriving disharmony and frail musicianship.
Is it the absence of melody, rhythm or instrumental competence that make this “post-rock”? Is lo-fi an excuse for people who can’t be bothered to learn music?
It doesn’t excite and it’s too irritating to be relaxing. But you can listen to it without creasing your shirt.