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Hare & Hounds Kings Heath
Hare & Hounds, High Street, Kings Heath, B14 7JZ Birmingham, United Kingdom
THURS APRIL 26TH
+ SPECIAL GUESTS
On the surface, the hazy indie that this North London four-piece command seems a million miles from anything that might prompt sleepless nights, but it's the slowly creeping scares that leave the deepest impression.
Through their smog and psych, frontman Felix Bushe's lyricism draws upon the darkest corners of both the supernatural and the more grounded.
Breakthrough track 'Fill My Gums With Blood', for example, is a tale of «a little boy vampire who falls for a girl» whilst 'Powder's instrumentation melts around a wistful pondering on death.
«The fantastical side of the world is more exciting to me than the mundane,» he explains. He cites early exposure to Lou Reed and David Bowie and their respective constructions of alternate worlds within their lyrics as a huge turning point — «that was the point that I realised there was more than just writing about smoking cigarettes and drinking beers,» he smiles. David Lynch and Terry Gilliam are also confessed as influences on their cinematic take on indie pop.
Those musical backdrops are building a legacy of their own too, with guitarist John Victor already being framed alongside greats of the instrument like Jonny Greenwood and Graham Coxon. Indeed, it was John who solidified these school-friends' ambition with his effortless, virtuoso guitar-work, though it was perhaps more accidental a pairing than it might seem. John studied jazz bass at university, and only met the rest of the band when playing bass in function bands — his guitar technique is entirely self-taught. With NME declaring his on-stage physique «octopus-like», there's clearly something of that aforementioned otherworldliness seeping into the members themselves, as well as their effortless talents.
Backed by drummer Danny Ward and bassist Hugh Schulte's alternation between a rhythmic, almost Can-esque krautrock vibe and a more funk and Motown infused groove — most evident on tracks like 'She's A Witch' — Gengahr's sound seems to wilt through every genre imaginable. «All of our friends were in bands, there was so much creativity going on in our groups» explains Hugh when it comes to their fusion of sounds, citing everything from amateur covers bands to local grime talent as alumni of the school's practice rooms. «Our school was really good; we got to rehearse at lunchtime, so to avoid being beaten up we'd often just go and sit in a rehearsal room.»
«Touring is what makes it feel really legit for bands,» they explain. Felix elaborates on the impact that holds on their writing style: «We don't play new stuff on the road. We find it gives us a lot of energy, so when we get back home, it's strange, we have this build up of new ideas come from that starvation of not being able to write properly. You don't get to rehearse, you don't get to play new things for weeks on end and then when you get back it's really exciting again to try something else, to try something new.»
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