Outside Brighton’s Green Door Store, the muggy night air is filled with blasts of a train whistle, the crackle of a platform announcement and the squawks of resident seagulls, but inside the cobbled venue below the train station there’s a night of aural pleasure headed up by Indiana natives HOOPS.
Before the Fat Possum band’s five-strong live ensemble flood the stage though, tour support comes in the shape of London-based duo CYMBALS, who unveil a plethora of slinky electro-pop nuggets from forthcoming new album ‘Light In Your Mind’. The record is a big step for the band, with glacial slow-build ‘Fully Automated Luxury’ the peak, thanks to plucked violin, groove-laden bass and kaleidoscopic atmospherics that put a Talking Heads-ish spin on the visceral work of Glass Animals and Wild Beasts.
Then it’s the turn of the eagerly awaited headliners, who instantly cloak the back room in a blanket of gleaming lo-fi guitar music recalling everyone from Real Estate to Ariel Pink. HOOPS may have started life as a solo ambient and beat-driven project in the vein of Oneohtrix Point Never, but the now-trio have evolved into an infectious group with a three-pronged approach to songwriting.
Tonight, guitarist Drew Auscherman, bassist Kevin Krauter and keys maestro Keagan Beresford flit between being in the spotlight, taking the mic for each of their respective creations. It makes for a stimulating experience: the Auscherman-penned ‘Rules’ fuses trebley 80s fretwork with frenetic energy, the Krauter-crafted ‘On Top’ combines feel-good chiming licks with the bassist’s murky vocals before reaching a dreamy conclusion and the Beresford-birthed ‘On Letting Go’ brings the band’s blissed-out and synth-laden side to the fore.
As the band vacate to zealous applause and affectionate hollers of “Hoooooops” after a short but undeniably sweet set, it’s clear their full-length debut album ‘Routines’ could be the start of something very special indeed.