Richard James, Vivers:
A small work experience boy hides behind the sound desk. Tommy’s is missing its usual technicians and a thick fuzz emanates from the speakers. Not that it matters a huge amount: I’m as tone deaf as the nearest lamppost and Richard James’s voice could cut through any amount of sonic treacle. Witness his first, new song, quiet and golden, cut from the same dreamy cloth as the silent majority of 2006’s Seven Sleepers Den. In a set leaning heavily on forthcoming album material it’s the voice that matters, slow and welcoming even when the songs edge towards bland or over familiar. ‘My Heart’s On Fire’ is the same sweet, folky pay off though, and an abrasive full band finale of ‘Wanna See You Die’ obliterates the permanent hiss nicely.
Are all bands from Iceland good? Some must be shit – they must have their own Lilly Allen or Scouting for Girls. Maybe they hide them away – perhaps they are outlawed constitutionally. Hey, Welsh Assembly – follow their example and take action against the Stereophonics and Lost Prophets. That’s one legislative competence order I’d support.
Err, Hjaltalin are nice. They look like they’ve wandered in lost after a weekend long Stonehenge party, sporting brown medieval cloaks, funny haircuts, and beards… that and their pop-folk jangle makes them the perfect fit for Tommy’s, jigsawistically. Most people come here to be jolly on a Friday and to dunk cider. Hjalaltin could possibly be from Somerset and are very jolly. The art-school girls are also very jolly. There’s clearly an exchange of jollyness going on here.
Mr Lead Singer tries to do an additional bit of business and make do cultural intercourse. “Teach me some Welsh!”, he said, vainfully. Maybe should’ve shared a bill with Race Horses. This was followed with lots of invitations to visit Iceland and spend our money, which was topical if you have a knowledge of international exchange rates. Cynicism aside, I’d love to visit if they all dress like this lot of Maid Marian extras. Only if they do that.
In the midsts of all that I did quite enjoy myself. Nice, chipper, positive, jaunty, adjectives, adjectives. There we are.