The noise-pop of The Rational Academy simply proves too subtle for my liking tonight. For all their endeavour, I’m just not engaged by the echoing guitar or the back-and-forth vocals of Amelia Golding and Benjamin Thompson. And, despite the intimate confines of Ric’s, the crowd feels similarly distant from the action — present in body, but not entirely there in spirit. I’m almost tempted to puit it down to stagecraft, but is it a justifiable criticism to accuse a shoegaze-styled band of being wallflowers when that’s de-rigeur for so many outfits of the genre?
Do The Robot have long been a band that has claimed my affections with a dreamy minimalist style of repeated guitar lines and swirling keys. Frustratingly, I only get to see the final song of their set — presumably a preview of new album First Names — as a result of an ill-timed, ill-judged and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to catch a friend’s band playing over at the nearby Step Inn. A lesson learnt. What I do catch sounds good, if far more steeped in electronic effects and delay than any previous material. The way they set up to face each other across an upturned kick-drum provides an unusual and visually compelling element that oddly complements their sound.