FLAMINGODS | LIVE REVIEW
Dempseys, Cardiff, Thurs 28 Aug
With a sound that can be described as Hare Krishna pop, the Flamingods are a freaky foursome whom manage to direct their London-via-Bahrain-eccentricities to tap into a more esoteric, exotic sound- a flurry of chanting, percussion, dance beats and uniform hallucinogenic outfits. The title of their new album, Hyperborea even has an ethereal, otherworldly jingle to it; evoking a mythical island, perhaps.
Their show is a visual smorgasbord, a 360-degree experience: all Hindu symbols and psychedelic split images climaxing, splattering outwards to the music and into your eyeballs and ears. Like on acid, their trip is at once experimental and oddly entrancing. Even as cynical as I felt at the start, I soon became magnetised by the echoing chants of the men in robes (later disrobed, said reviewer becoming entranced by sweaty, shirtless bodies instead). The small, dingy upstairs room of Dempsey’s at once became a canvas for their Pollackian, carnivalesque sound, with openers like Market Dancer and the dizzy-sunny-spell of Garden Of Indra pitted against get-up-and-dance numbers such as Nibiru that had the girls tossing their hair and the boys ripping their shirts off. Some slow-burners were thrown into the mix; the title track itself descends upon you slowly at first, drunkenly, like a white-hot mirage.
As contrived as their act may seem at first- the matching outfits, the meshing of cultural eccentricities- they manage to pull it off, evoking more of a “nostalgia abroad” feeling than “tourist abroad”. It made you, well, long for that summer festival spirit again.
Hyperborea having been released by Cardiff label Shape, ran by Islet’s Mark Thomas, Flamingods’ sound is an avant-garde take on the big surge of dance music that has taken over even the mainstream, a hippie kaleidoscope of noise that is almost like a poor-man’s Goat (2012’s biggest underground mystical/dance collective). However, this ‘music without borders’ exists as something incandescent, a delirious ectoplasm that enthrals and infects, and will only continue to get bigger, or failing that, offer a bit of the middle east for the hipster crowd, with an added Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds vibe.
words KATIE DRISCOLL photo EMMA DAMAN THOMAS