Dempseys, Cardiff, Wed 3 Dec
While it’s not exactly jam-packed in the Four Bars tonight there’s a decent crowd of about 40 people here tonight to see Whitebelt and Moss Lime. The sort of people who come out on a rainy Thursday night to see the sorts of bands that play here probably aren’t looking for wild thrills, but there seems to be an air of anticipation before Whitebelt take the stage.
Whitebelt are from Bristol and play spiky space rock with synths, guitar and drums. This is exactly the sort of thing that I like, and they don’t disappoint. There’s an interesting mix of influences going on here, but the closest comparison seems to be Add N To X, with occasional nods to Battles. They’re great – but I’d really like to see them in a bigger venue and with a more lively audience.
Lively, on the other hand, is not a word I can use to describe Moss Lime, three young Canadians with a shyness that is probably just that, but could be mistaken for aloofness. Their whispered vocals, and lo-fi, yet insistent, instrumentation create a hypnagogic feeling. The lyrics switch between English and French, but it’s difficult to make out what they’re about, and the overall mood is of something veiled, not fully revealed.
The music seems to hark back to early-80s no wave, and also reminds me of the French band X Ray Pop (maybe it’s the French vocals). Throughout it all I can’t tell if their diffidence is genuine, or just an affectation; but either way it seems in keeping with the low-key musical feel. Definitely a band to keep an eye on.
words and photos DAVID GRIFFITHS