Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Show Review: Wembley

BCHQ, Durham
December 6, 2008

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Saturday night's modest crowd of two dozen was given room to stretch their arms and minds as the narrow murky walls of Durham's eclectic Bull City Head Quarters were shoved apart by a performance by Wembley so robust and lusty that attentions were blinded to all surroundings. With compulsively bouncy piano rhythms and disarming melodies, this Hillsborough indy outfit is a sleeper band that is ready for the alarm clock to go off.

There is a worldly quality to this group, if not from the successfully demonstrated British pop undertones, then from song writing that draws on introspection and entirety. The masterful application of vocal effects through a minimal PA arrangement turned a small venue into a large stage just on presence alone. Venturing so far from the straight forward norm of a dry mic and a hot guitar, there was a sense that this music was made beyond the influence of our localized indy rock fingerprint.

Just as it is heard on the CD-R handed out after the show, Elizabeth Hull's softly antiqued voice breezed in like wind-chill accentuating the lofty ring of Neven Carswell's cool crisp Thom Yorke-like vocals, so beautifully balanced it was as though they were singing to each other rather than harmonizing for the microphones. Elizabeth Hammond's blending of a grainy traditional drum set with a poppy synth drum pad was as entertaining to watch as was it to listen to and underscored the band's bravery for the unique while Tracy Sumner's expressionless shoegaze bass strumming further promoted a sense of invasion music. This is a local group that could step onto the world stage with none the wiser that they aren't from London or Glasgow.

It would appear that the faithful caught the last Wembley show of the year on Saturday but as their myspace blog suggests, they may be retreating to record a few more songs before they reappear in February at The Pinhook.

View Wembley's profiles: Wembley New Town Drunks

Images from Saturday night:

Wembley at BCHQ 12-6-08
wembley at bchq 12-6-08

Neven and Tracy after the show
Neven and Tracy

Elizabeth's drum kit and synth pad
Elizabeth Hammond's drum kit

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