We Wanted to be The Sky

Live review from Underground 106:

SHS_9036.JPGSetlist:

1. Because All Romantics Are Quitters

2. Fire

3. Play Again

4. Heart Attack

5. Up the Walls

6. Photographs+Nitrogen

7. Wanchop

WWBS began their career while I was away, so I didn’t get to see their first couple of months of development as a band. When I asked someone who had, they were described to me as “Tilly and a bunch of maniacs”. (Note – this is not to say that Tilly isn’t a maniac on stage; merely that I was familiar with her work.) Well, this, I’m happy to report, is essentially true – the band is Tilly with her delicious ear for good rock ‘n’ roll, combined with a swirling whirlwind of guitars, an appositely solid bass, and a kickin’ drummer (which, as Krist Novoselic said, is very important for a band) who, at his best, bears an uncanny resemblance in style to the late, great Jerry Nolan. So, they’re great on paper.

They’re even better in reality, because (awesome) music aside, they’re quite the spectacle on stage. Tilly was always a livewire, but guitarist Sam takes that to another level by being rather dervish-esque. These two alone are reason enough to go out to watch them. They sound very much like the bands that came out of the post-grunge woodwork in the 90s to sound like a mix of (and it makes me very happy to be able to say this) the grinding propulsion of L7’s Smell the Magicand the classic-yet-alternative rock sound of Mudhoney’s Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge, with some of the sweetness of the Kooks. At their best, they seriously remind me of Fugazi It’s a compelling combination, and they have the songs to match (if you haven’t heard them, they have a few songs for download here..) They also use sampled sounds (including people repeating their name), which is not only clever, but breathes freshness into the set by replacing the mid-song banter.

From the shreddy goodness (and great title) of Because All… to the more slow and winding Fire, they already have some pretty good songs going. There are a couple of songs, Play Again and Photographs+Nitrogen, for instance, in which the elements don’t quite all work together, and Tilly’s peculiar style of singing does get to me a bit when she overdoes the replacing of high notes with a shriek/squeal (in my opinion), but they are a band to be watched out for. This, not only because they’re great live, but also because the stuff they’ve recorded so far sounds terrific. Great stuff with, I’m confident, more to come.

— Shashwati Kala

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