Galchen (4 stars)


Photo: Kate Oldham

Pivo Pivo, 30 April 2009

It’s hard to know what to do at festivals like these. Like any other, there is always the danger that such an eclectic line-up will suffer from serious clashes between firm favourites and obscure and curious new names. Tonight is no exception, with almost every slot being rammed to the hilt with exciting prospects, all performing, rather inconveniently, at exactly the same time. So, as many contemplate making their Hinterland a marathon run of 10-minute stints (myself included), it would seem that Pivo Pivo has drawn in one of tightest crowds of the night to watch Glasgow trio Galchen present their slant on the audio/visual experience. The cramped, yet cosily warm conditions serve as a perfect stomping ground for the band’s set of powerful yet delicate instrumentals.

Backed up with swirling, trippy images, the music is given a somewhat ethereal feel as the sounds echo off these tiny walls to the utmost content of the crowd. It would be too easy to label this band ‘post-rock’ – whatever that means these days – or give them the subsequent standard Mogwai/Explosions In The Sky comparisons that come with the territory. Though neither of these lynchpin post-rock acts is a bad benchmark by any means, ultimately it would be selling short a band that, for its three members, conjures up such a uniquely ambient, yet often storming array of guitar-based textures and puts on a riveting show that is particularly enjoyed, as it is surely intended, when the focus is taken off the band and put on these startling images.


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