Monday, 19 July 2010

Working For A Nuclear Free City @ Sound Control, 02.07.10

Whatever else they’ve been working for, Working for a Nuclear Free City’s live shows in the UK have been infrequent at best over the past couple of years. An ambient eponymous debut, follow-up Rocket EP and the compilation of both entitled Businessmen & Ghosts; recorded output all dates back to 2006/2007 as well.

The fallout has been minor metamorphosis. Formerly a foursome, they’ve added an extra guitar; to tour the US with Fujiya & Miyagi and more recently to contribute to their latest album, Jojo Burger Tempest, due out later this year. In a step mirroring recent examples of track-length audacity by Oneida and Endless Boogie, JBT will comprise two discs with the latter consisting of one track in all-out looping jam mode.

The result is more post-rock ear-benders than previous mellowed chillwave; more up than down on the tempo front. The obvious difference is thickened sonic grunge, along with more off-kilter Battles-esque edginess, and an unrepentant desire to forcibly thwack the aural hammer against anvil.

Silverclub precede with pulsating drums and bass-led grooves (instigated by Chris McGrath, also of Sirconical and Magic Arm), catchily danceable hooks and icing on the top through scratch DJing.

The WFANFC showing is an odd one. For starters it’s only synth and production whiz Phil Kay on Sound Control's upstairs stage for a solo set, so another taster of the aforementioned shift in style will have to wait. It does mean that the electronic sampling and gadgetry synonymous with the more memorable moments of the debut album are again commonplace for the evening.

There’s much to appreciate in a seemingly unplanned fill-in for another band member’s holiday departure. Even if it’s a little disjointed on the mixing front, as audio assaults arrest abruptly and rhythms jump less than seamlessly. Melody-ridden electronica akin to Nathan Fake’s ‘The Sky was Pink’ dives into floor-shaking arena bouncers fluently enough, but it’s the comedown that’s elusive; it feels like you’re inside a TV set while someone channel-hops.

As ‘Troubled Son’ is dropped in later on it hardly matters and this, of course, can’t be considered representative of what to expect from WFANFC in any case.

Words: Ian Pennington

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