Words by Holly Warren. In Bloom In Tune
The only aural evidence of Bad Sounds online is a track, ‘Living Alone’, posted on Soundcloud. It hints at a Metronomy and OK Go style but in no way prepares you for the absolute joy that is the band live. The challenge for any support act is to make a room full of people waiting for someone else to say, “Hey, that’s different.” Listening to Bad Sounds begin their set was like opening a Kinder Surprise and actually being pleasantly surprised. Bad Sounds are most likely to do it differently, and least likely to call themselves “out there”. The stage was filled with keyboards and synths and guitars and pink fairy lights they’d bought with them – the lead singer even pulled out a tambourine at one point, and it was hard to really say who played what ’cos they were all just happily bopping around up there swapping instruments and vocals. The lads were all dressed in outfits they could easily have been wearing as three-year-olds in the early Nineties (perhaps they were participating in that internet craze of recreating childhood photos?) but it was a great look and another refreshing aspect of the band. They smashed out future hit after future hit, turning what probably started off as a load of weird sounds in early jamming sessions into catchy, happy, B-town indie pop.
Shiners came out seeming determined to top them, strumming furiously and pulling shapes, fingers never leaving the fretboard throughout their Eighties- and Nineties-influenced ska-flavoured rock. Their first song was super guitar-heavy and featured a calypso-style organ, setting the tone for the rest of the set. With nods to Blur and Madness, the standout song was ‘Just Got Paid’ [listen below], but the rest, while played with the ultimate verve, weren’t quite as memorable. The frontman’s goal on stage is that of Hives’ lead singer/professional madman Howlin' Pelle Almqvist; he’s going to be as big as he possibly can be on stage. The band were throwing high kicks fit for an arena show, the bravado balancing out the slightly uninspiring setlist and lack of musical variation. The foursome are rich in potential, though, and showed all the signs that we can be excited about what is yet to come.