ROBOTS & ELECTRONIC BRAINS

Immense @ Dublin Castle, London (2/10/99)

It's so frustrating being faced with the obvious impossibility of describing music with words---it is a medium so inadequate that it sees you reaching for worn-out similes in order to try and pin down at least a fraction of how a band sounded. So here we go....

Immense sound like a less angry Fugazi (a lot more so than on record), all deep groovy bass lines that have your feet moving in no time at all. They tend to lay the bare bones of rhythm with drums and bass before fleshing out the songs with two guitars (one spidery, the other raw), samples, keyboards, even a saxophone at the very end. There are no vocals, so the songs never seem to climax, they just rise and fall, with varying degrees of complexity. Because of the gradual build up, it almost looks easy. But the sum of parts adds to a powerful, kick-ass beauty of a noise, which leaves you either grinning or open-mouthed, cos it suddenly looks anything but simple. It shows no signs of being self-indulgent intellectual wank, though, and thus manages to engage the heart, as well as the brain.

They are evidently a 'serious' band. You don't make this sort of music if you want instant fame, cocaine and supermodels (not necessarily in that order). There is no talk between songs, they are ferociously tight and they don't look stupid or entertaining or sexy. Even the old-ish geezer on the guitar adds certain gravitas to the proceedings. But luckily they don't take themselves too seriously either---at one point, the young(er) guitarist waves his arms in the air as if they are Oasis and we've all got our lighters aloft.

Okay, so you know they've listened to Mogwai et. al. but if you think they are just another bunch of "we'll make loud songs about seafaring" brigade, you'd be wrong. The comparisons that will be used to describe them (and there will be comparisons, trust me!) needn't paint them as imitators, they should allow you to put them in a frame of reference. Because there is something more to this band and I have no idea what it is. See, words fail me again. (Radiant Kovacs)


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