TRICOT / FALSE HOPE FOR THE SAVAGE | LIVE REVIEW
Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff, Tue 29 Aug
Twinkly guitar passages shouldered aside by pure brute force; vocals conspicuous only by their absence; solemn on-stage demeanours; the appearance of a violin bow; an earnest and portentous band name, and song titles cut from the same cloth. False Hope For The Savage would only need to perform against a backdrop of grainy black-and-white film projections to have anyone playing post-rock bingo screaming “House!” (though they’d struggle to be heard).
However, while it goes to show that even a self-consciously unconventional genre can develop its own conventions, and the crescendos and drops are so predictably timed you could stake your life on them, there’s no denying that the quintet possess a visceral power to which a better sound mix could do proper justice. That our paths will cross again isn’t a false hope.
By contrast, the headliners’ songs simply refuse to be second-guessed, abruptly changing direction more often than an indecisive fly following a faulty satnav. That Tricot have titled their third album 3 is the only remotely unimaginative thing about them.
While I’m reluctant to make a big deal of a band’s gender, it needs to be acknowledged that because math rock is predominantly the preserve of white boys, to witness three Japanese women toying with its tropes with such electrifying results is genuinely thrilling. Not that Tricot can be so neatly pigeonholed, though – at times purveying a kind of fractured funk performed at hyperspeed, and at others an absurdist, spasming form of US pop-punk, like Deerhoof with big woah-woah choruses.
The initial tracks are perhaps a bit too off-kilter even for this partisan crowd, but before long – and certainly by the time the likes of Ochansensu-su come along and vocalist/guitarist Ikumi Nakajima asks in broken English if we want to dance – a moshpit has developed and it’s evident that the room was a powder keg into which promoters Fuelled By Jealous Lovers have lobbed a Molotov cocktail.
Nakajima announces “We love Cardiff” and declares the evening “awesome super cool”. Suffice to say those whom she’s addressing are left in absolute agreement.
words BEN WOOLHEAD