Like the blustery and unpredictable weather in the wake of Storm Angus, the eclectic music boomeranging around Brighton’s Green Door Store tonight keeps us on our toes. Inside the cobbled back room, North East London band Gengahr play an intimate show and rouse the beaming attendees with a pigeonhole-defying set – one that overspills with new material from their as-yet-unfinished sophomore record.
The fresh cuts come thick and fast this evening and not unlike some of the artists they’ve supported over the last few years (Wolf Alice, alt-J, The Maccabees) the latest fruits of their labour harbour a more immediate, punchy and arena-ready sound. It’s a case of natural evolution rather than a loss of spark though, as the five unreleased tracks still flaunt the same fervent experimentation that made debut album ‘A Dream Outside’ fly. Of them, UMO-echoing opener ‘Mallory’ is the most immediate earwormer thanks to the exhilarating combination of singer Felix Bushe and guitarist John Victor: the former’s honeyed falsetto swoops and soars, while the latter’s infectious fretwork flickers like a sun-dappled river during the tune’s dazzling chorus.
Aside from their more recent studio creations, the Hackney act’s first full-length provides wonky psych-lite concoctions aplenty, with a humongous ‘Heroine’, an ominously dubby ‘Dark Star’ and a groove-fuelled ‘Fill My Gums With Blood’ among the highlights. The off-kilter beats and stratospheric refrains continue throughout ‘She’s A Witch’, which garners the biggest reception of the night with it’s Mew-like hook, and during epic encore ‘Powder’ – both of which come over bigger and bolder in the flesh. With a magnetic batch of new songs in the locker and the wind firmly in their sails, 2017 is shaping up to be a stonker for Gengahr who are just getting better and better.