The Great Escape 2013: Lab Coast

lab coast These guys are another of the bands I tipped when I wrote my Ones to Watch post for The Great Escape this year. And, a little like Glass Animals before them, I found them good live, but no better than that, which was a little disappointing.

Recorded, their tunes are strong and hummable, and the laid back stylishness of their guitar sound has a certain retro swagger to it which I really like.  They are an unhurried, confident-sounding band though, and a little like Glass Animals again, I suspect that what makes their recordings so enjoyable to listen to might be the thing which took the shine off the live performance for me a little. Simply put, the laid back, slightly disinterested nature which so appeals to me on record seemed to rob the performance of the kind of charisma which makes a good live show.

You don’t have to ramp everything up to ten to address this of course, and I am not saying that they should have just played faster and louder, but there was a lack of intensity and engagement in the performance, or so it seemed to me, and suddenly what was stylish and laid back just felt a bit flat. They still write eminently hummable tunes of course, and please don’t get the impression that I didn’t enjoy their set, because I did, I just kept waiting for it all to click into place for me, which it never did.

It would have helped, of course, if I had a better knowledge of the band’s back catalogue. I heard about them because of their CMYK 7″ series release with the brilliant Faux Discx, but they have an extensive back catalogue of tape and split 7″ releases, some of which contain some absolutely cracking pop tunes – like this and this for example – and I have to confess I am not as familiar with it all as I could be, which often doesn’t help when you’re at a live show. Neither does being with restless companions, I suppose, so maybe I should just put this down as one of those occasions where you just don’t quite click with a band and move on. I still like their records though, so maybe I should go back through those a little more carefully before seeing them play live again.

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