Health (4 stars)


Captain’s Rest, Glasgow, Tue 20 Apr

In such a tightly-packed venue with such a low stage, it’s impossible to see anything that’s going on up the front. Only bassist BJ Miller’s wildly flailing long dark hair is visible, and a wedge of people, slowly but determinedly butting their heads along in time.

So all most of the rest of the crowd is left with is the sound, and that’s enough. Los Angelino noise quartet Health howl into life, grinding out jagged guitar riffs and dense, distorted rhythms. It’s loud like metal, but not quite; there are delicately composed parts going on beneath the squalling aural violence, and in that respect this band somehow resemble My Bloody Valentine. And then, brilliantly, they go and turn everything on its head by bringing the electronics out to play. From the unnerving industrial meets grunge racket of ‘Triceratops’ and ‘Die Slow’, they veer towards the sparse and melodic (relatively so, you understand, in comparison to what’s gone before) synthesised sound of ‘USA Boys’, the floating, overamplified vocals again somehow reminding of Kevin Shields’. It’s oddly comforting, but it shouldn’t be.

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