It’s a blustery August evening and The Finsbury looms large, ready for HIDDEN HERD and Lost In The Manor‘s night of new blood. Tonight, the bedimmed back room welcomes a four-strong lineup of hotly-tipped newcomers headed up by Talmont – with all bands on the bill looking set to gather steam over the unfolding months.
First up, south coast psychsmiths Sad Palace put on a dazzling display, taking the fast-filling venue on a mind-bending jaunt with their kaleidoscopic rock ‘n’ roll. The quartet have big tunes by the bucketload: ‘Rainbow Melt’ swaggers like the Arctics circa ‘AM’, ‘Breeze’ has all the vim of early Franz and brand new single ‘Frostbeat’ wraps everything we love about Foals and alt-J into four phenomenal minutes. The latter builds on dreamy and hypnotic foundations to culminate in a rapturous riff-heavy conclusion, and is unequivocally one of the finest things we’ve heard this year.
On a different side of the indie-pop spectrum are Playing House, led by magnetic singer Mel Patman, whose hook-packed set is infectious and feel-good from the get-go. It’s the perfect pep-up ahead of the East London trio’s BBC Introducing show at Reading and Leeds on bank holiday weekend, with the wonky art-pop from their first two EPs ‘Jocelyn’ and ‘New Haircut’ quickly wooing the gaggle of onlookers. There are fidgety guitar-led gems throughout, but whirling slow-build ‘Grapefruit’ and dizzying earwormer ‘Jelly Legs’ are the flawlessly-executed high points that will live long in the memory – hard proof that the band are destined for the big league.
South London’s Moondude have a similar jangle, but their bewitching dream-pop has a gloom-laden edge that channels rock’s wryest social observers and harbingers of doom. The quintet, who have collaborated with one another since their formative years, make songs to savour: ‘Something’ is a rainy day soundtrack that shoots for The Smiths and scores, ‘Displaced’ is a hazy ditty that pays homage to Beach Fossils and the like, while ‘Wild Alive’ – their stint’s shimmering centrepiece – sounds like Morrissey fronting Real Estate. Spellbinding and slow-building, Moondude‘s tunes aren’t about instant gratification – but the fivesome’s set tonight is one to get lost in.
Goldsmiths alumni Talmont bring something entirely different to the table, filling the dimly lit space with dark electro-pop during their emphatic headline slot. The London trio, who also hail from south of the capital’s river, fuse disparate elements to create something truly eclectic from the outset. There are brooding soundscapes (‘Wilt’), atmospheric slow-builds (‘Buried In Gold’) and huge-sounding synth anthems (‘Moving Further Than Before’), each showcasing the three-piece’s vast sonic palette by melding elements of hip-hop, rock and electronica. At the centre of it all is frontwoman Martha Gibbons, whose powerful voice flies effortlessly between bright and brooding, and is the cherry on top of the band’s unique concoction. Big, bold and brimming with ideas, Talmont‘s sound should see them soar.