Saturday, 17 December 2022


The Hope and Ruin, Brighton
Fri 9th Dec

’Star Trek’, it seems, was wrong. You can change the laws of physics. It just takes you five years. At least that’s the length of time it’s been since I last saw the Physics House Band, and they do now sound quite different. In the intervening time, they’ve lost a bass player. There’s literallya space mid-stage where he stood. Which has changed their chemistry…. No, wait, that ruins the metaphor.

The guitarist now goes in for more power riffs. Which is actually a pretty smart solution to losing a bass player. The traditional rock-sound distinction is that the bass will play the beat and the guitar the melody, while a riff just lumbers in and does away with all that.

They’ve also replaced the bass with more saxophone. I’m not sure how that works, but it has. As the guitar rips into riffs the sax plays squalls above it. Which sounds counter-intuitive but works well. Think of a ballerina pirouetting around atop a Howitzer tank. Or something like that, anyway. When they do this it works very, very well. However… 

They have often tended to peaks-and-valleys dynamics, something they npw do much more. And it was these sections which didn’t work for me. As the record shows I’ve been uneven in my response to this band. Which I suspect is more down to my subjective responses than their ability to do things right. And I found my response had become more uneven than it had been before.

A lot of music I like has no forward momentum, such as the minimalism of Reich or Glass. It can be fun to screw with time that way, to write numbers which effectively stop clocks. But if the music’s not moving, in any conventional sense, you have to like it where you are. And the view from these valleys simply didn’t do it for me.

Bands need to move on, and they’re not under any obligation to take you with them when they do. But I guess myself and the Physics House Band have now parted ways.

No comments:

Post a Comment