Flyte‘s brilliance has been brewing for some years now, so it’s with bated breath that Brighton awaits this UK tour date in support of career high point ‘The Loved Ones’. Tonight, amid the purplish gleam of Patterns’ basement, where a gaggle of early arrivers enjoy shelter from the ceaseless seaside drizzle, the excitement is palpable. And not just because it’s the weekend; the band’s flawless debut record, an impeccable tribute to classic 60s and 70s songwriters, promises to be a live spectacle to savour.
Prior to their headline set, the fast-filling venue is ignited by rousing Brighton favourites MarthaGunn, whose earthy boho-rock warms like whisky in the palm. The effortlessly chic five-piece – who are set to light up Hidden Herd’s BLOGTOBER show at The Finsbury in just over a fortnight – look like the secret love children of Buckingham and Nicks and bring whimsical 70s vibes by the bucketload. Far from pastiche though, ‘Honest’ is a heart-battered slow-build steeped in a unique timelessness and curtain call ‘Heaven’ is a riveting closer that slaloms between Fleetwood Mac, Haim and Swedish supergroup Liv. Classic and cutting edge in equal measure, MarthaGunn are capable of wooing both the discerning and the masses.
With the crowd primed for more, it’s high time for headliners Flyte, who themselves are an act that defy time and fashion. There’s no overwrought gusto or bombast from the Hackney-based indie-pop group this evening (by their own admission, they make music to moon over from within headphones rather than soundtrack Saturday nights), but frontman Will Taylor & Co pluck, tinkle and harmonise with such accuracy they can wholly afford to jettison gimmicks and bravado.
The quartet’s aforementioned LP is a wondrous jaunt that plays out like a great six-string songbook: there’s trippy guitar-pop (‘Victoria Falls’), kaleidoscopic synth-rock (‘Sliding Doors’) and even a stripped back version of early single ‘We Are The Rain’ in honour of the weather. Added to the setlist in the pub before the show according to Taylor, the off-the-cuff inclusion is a reminder of just how high the band’s bar has been since the very start.
But more than ever, Flyte‘s arsenal now has real depth: ‘Cathy Come Home’ is an Elton/Beatles hybrid that makes for the ultimate jukebox song, ‘Orphans Of The Storm’ is a shipwrecked lament that ebbs and flows like the bubbling tide and ‘Archie, Marry Me’ (their reverb-drenched a cappella cover of Alvvays) leaves a shiver crawling up the spine.
If any further persuasion was needed, finale ‘Faithless’ emerges as a future festival singalong. Flyte‘s new showstopper is unequivocal proof they’re a band to hold dear.