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Live Review: Delta Sleep, Phoria & Canals - Casey’s, Canterbury - 18/02/11

This gig was meant to be part of the Wot Gorilla? UK tour, which was cut short due to Wot Gorilla’s bassist breaking his ankle. However, undeterred and with impressive home support, intended support band Delta Sleep stepped up to headline. It should also be noted at this point that Casey’s is a pub and one not particularly well suited for gigs of any kind, let alone one that features the intricate detail of bands playing mathy post-rock, and so despite numerous sound checks and plenty of dial-turning, the sound suffers throughout.

First up are the eclectic-sounding Canals. They play an intriguing set of post-rock, which is let down by inaudible vocals. The band generally sticks to off-kilter time signatures with a certain element of jangly indie to it. However, on the track ‘Marionette’ the band manage to craft a sound that conjures images of cloud kingdoms and manga animation. Next up is Brighton’s Phoria who fare slightly better in the sound stakes. Taking cues from the atmospheric indie of bands like Radiohead and Sigur Ros, their accomplished musicianship suffers from a lack of variation and extremely whiny vocals. The highlight of their set comes during a track with a rhythmic clapping interlude and the use of a megaphone. Only in post-rock circles.

Tonight’s headliners by default, Delta Sleep, are an entirely different prospect. The band are immensely skilled musicians, keeping impossibly difficult time signatures like they were counting stars. Their songs are different and interesting, keeping to a math rock formula, but not being repetitive. There is an underlying urgency to each of their monumental songs, something that has been lacking in the earlier acts. The phenomenally rapid yet disciplined drumming and flawless basslines are complimented beautifully by the intricate guitar work, and the occasional peppering of screamed vocals are the perfect seasoning. The beauty of Delta Sleep’s set is that they don’t offer the audience a moment to get used to a sound before breathlessly changing and morphing into something different, something that would fail in most circumstances, but somehow works here.

Box Social Records deserve credit for continuing to plug away with these well-attended nights, but it’s Delta Sleep who rightfully draw the most plaudits.

Words by Dan Issitt

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