Live review from Sub-Terra #5:
2. Modest Beauty
3. Tell Me Again
4. Jumper Cables
6. I Lose Control
As a music writer, there are few finer feelings than coming across a young, hungry band oozing with talent and a sound of their own. They do the simple things right, driven by Joel’s rhythmic lead guitar which has noughties band The Kooks written all over it. The languid, distorted rhythm guitar that’s right down the neck is the main ingredient for first song Hawaii, which gets Sub Terra 5 up and running for the Underground.
Bassist Gabriel leads on vocals and he seems to start very apprehensive, but then this gig is a big deal for these guys so it makes sense if there are a few nerves tonight. On Modest Beauty the verse is a little in the lower register for him. This gives us a feeling of him kind of holding back a bit. This all changes though when they hit the chorus and he really shows us the real meat and tone to his vocal.
I love how these guys look like if they weren’t here they’d probably be hanging around a park somewhere. They label themselves as garage rock which as a concept comes from the 1960s. A genre for relatively inexperienced bands who were still learning their instruments and sound. Albert though are a solid one-dimensional band, doing the simple things right. They don’t seem like they’re still learning at all.
On Tell Me Again Joel switches to lead vocals and for me he doesn’t quite have the same strength in his pipes as Gabriel. Martin also definitely looks like this is his first gig with the band. He sort of seems a bit disconnected from the rest of the guys and I also can’t quite tell what he’s playing on guitar. Possibly helping fill out the rhythm so Joel can focus more on lead riffs. Max as cool as anything is just quietly going about his business on the skins.
They close out their set with I Lose Control and I’m not sure if there is a conscious doff of the cap to Joy Division in the opening bars of the verse. It gets more cheerier thankfully and Gabriel is now full of confidence vocally. A few flicks of Brandon Flowers in there too. Loved it.
Albert, welcome to the Hong Kong music scene. There’s a place for you here and what you do with it is very, very exciting for us.
– Simon Donald Jones