Live Music + Gig Reviews

White Rose Movement @ Louisiana, Bristol

27 September 2005

On paper, White Rose Movement do so much right it’s difficult to understand how they could be anything less then thoroughly wonderful.

They’ve already got one brilliant single to their name, the jerky headlong rush of Love Is A Number, they’ve got the pedigree of having producer de jour Paul Epworth on board for their debut album, and balanced precariously on the line between ridiculous and spectacular, they just look so right on stage. Yet for a while tonight, they weren’t just uninspiring, they were yawningly dull.

Coming across as sullen and disinterested, the songs were leaden and one-paced, leaving nothing to do except wonder if their blonde siren of a keyboardist Taxxi knew that it looked like she was wearing a gingham potato sack. Admittedly, it’s not much help when your audience seem intent on trying to appear cooler than you, unwilling or unable to do anything more than a half-hearted cross-armed hipster head nod, but for a band such as WRM, a crowd that ain’t moving is a crowd that ain’t bothered.

Because at their best White Rose Movement do the fast becoming clichd thing of making ‘music for girls (and boys) to dance to’, and do it really well. Tonight it took the spasming beats of Love Is… to get everyone to crash out of their stupor, band included, and once those limbs started jerking and them heads started nodding with a bit more vigor, the mood improved immeasurably.

Then we could start picking more positives: the charisma that lead singer Finn Vine is developing to go with that yearning voice, the fantastically disapproving way that Taxxi seems to look over her bandmates throughout the gig, like she’s worried she’s going to have to clear up after them, and, most importantly of all, the fact they’ve actually got more than one great song.

Like the glossy sleaze-pop of Girls In The Back, arch, witty and complete with chorus that Duran Duran would have happily flown a dozen supermodels to Brazil to record a video for. Even better is Alsatian, a big ball of synthesized edges and distorted guitars that sound like Bloc Party having an MDMA fuelled nightmare. And for a new band, three already properly memorable songs is a pretty good score.

“It’s not gonna change the world is it?”, remarked someone downstairs afterwards, and no, it isn’t. But that’s missing the point, there’s a determination here, a gang-like mentality, which makes them far more deserving of acclaim than some (anyone remember The Bravery? No? Good). With a bit of luck, and if they can sort out those slow starts, White Rose Movement could well turn out to be the kind of band who people get very excited about.

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White Rose Movement @ Louisiana, Bristol