Live Music + Gig Reviews

Lupine Howl @ Underworld, London

9 November 2000

On the back of their debut single release on Beggars Banquet, 125, Spiritualized refugees Michael Mooney, Sean Cook et al took to the stage with yet another lineup.

Since the Union Chapel gig in August, at which their numbers were swelled by two session musicians from Portishead, a lineup that seemed more cohesive has developed. As a result of the Underworld’s sound system being set up rather better than its counterpart at the Union Chapel, we were able to enjoy the band rather more tonight and hear a very definite progression of their live show.

Sean Cook had never sung before Lupine Howl was formed, and he has frankly bourne this fact out with his performances in the past, but he seems to be getting into the lead singer role better now and as a result the songs sound more structured.

Strangely, 125 is not one of the highlights from their current set – there are several other songs, the names of which I do not know, which start deceptively bland before building frenetically to a mesmerising pace. Only Ozric Tentacles do this stuff better, and they don’t have vocals.

Considering that Lupine Howl was formed when nearly everyone in it was sacked from Spiritualized, it is no surprise to discover that the latter’s sound is developed in the former’s current live set. Harking back to Ian Brown and even Black Grape, there is much to get one’s teeth into with this band. Their current music seems born of frustration and I suspect that the debut album will be a clearing of the angst before some really serious music is undertaken. To say that they show potential would be a terrible cliche, but one that is nevertheless at this stage appropriate.

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