Exposure: Crystal Antlers
- Oliver Farrimond
- 27 January 2009
Commentators on the UK clubbing scene have made a curious prediction about what to expect on 2009's dancefloors. Apparently we can look forward to more specialisation, with greater stylistic promiscuity (ragga-house anyone?) and the further subdivision of already-niche genres. But what of the gigging community? Making the 12 thousand mile trip from Long Beach, California to teach the UK a thing or two about defying conformity are Crystal Antlers. Purveyors of a high-gain brand of lo-fi prog, they bring their howling live show to Glasgow later this month.
They've come far to peddle their wares. But what are these wares exactly?
They sound not dissimilar to The Animals if they had been raised solely on Mars Volta records. In fact, longstanding Volta keyboardist Ikey Owens produced their debut EP. On record they share much of the latter's affinity for experimentation, but not the preposterous production values - debut LP Tentacles was reportedly recorded on 2˝ tape. They've achieved cult status amongst trend-setters across the pond, and count among their followers chimney sweeps, Manhattan hipsters and biker gangs.
What flavour of psychedelia are we talking. Modal explorations or three chords and the truth?
A blood-and-guts delivery by singer Jonny Bell keeps Crystal Antlers from sounding overly crafted, and their songs have a melodic simplicity that belies the range and complexity of their influences. It's not for the faint-hearted, though. Much of their catalogue clocks in at over five minutes, and each band member plays their instrument like it's the lead. A brutal touring schedule in early 2009 should test this commitment to fervent live performances. However, odds are on that this post-just-about-everything psychedelic outfit will shake Sleazy's come the 30th.
Crystal Antlers play Nice N' Sleazy in Glasgow on Jan 30th