Friday, June 23, 2006

The Early Years @ Madame Jo Jo's

Tuesday night wasn’t a good night to put on a gig. Especially since fans of loud guitar rock tend to the male side of the population, and that same gender may have just been a wee bit more keen on watching England’s World Cup exploits than indie rock. Even for just one evening. The promoter confessed as much, and that he just didn’t think about the football when booking this week’s White Heat club at Madame Jo-Jo’s in Soho.

The result is really that the evening takes that wee bit longer to get started. First band Wolfie are on just after Sweden score to end the game 2-2. They’re terrible. But the people do start to arrive. And they’re not just blokes either.

I’m expecting good things from The Early Years. Debut single All Ones and Zeroes and new one So Far Gone are classic noisy indie guitar rock, with more than a nod to shoegazing. The singles could both surely could pass for Ride in their prime, and some of the B-sides suggest an affiliation with the gentler side of early 90s indie. But there’s more than that in The Early Years arsenal. I Heard Voices introduces a more experimental side – loping beats, distorted vocals and loads of layered post rock guitars. It almost 12 minutes long, but still doesn’t seem over-long. It’s their best tune by miles.

So is it forever 1991 in The Early Years’ world? First signs are is that it could be. Look! The keyboard player/third guitarist is wearing DMs with a bottle top in the laces! And although the ripped-jeans-and-converse look might have persisted, I was definitely wearing these in ’91. Heck, even their name evokes my own ‘early years’ of being into music! Things are looking up…

The result? Well, at the end I remained annoyingly unimpressed. Live they’re certainly more Swervedriver than Slowdive, but the show just didn’t live up to the promise of the singles. If I was their teacher, I might mark them down for repetition and lack of diversity. And maybe make them write out “It’s not good enough to drench everything in sheets of guitar noise” 100 times. Were the barely-audible vocals intentional, or just a result of ropey sound? In the end, each song sounded much like the last one. It’s good enough for a good few of the audience, with plenty heads nodding to the pounding bass, but left me strangely dissatisfied. I returned to the singles. Yes, they’re still good, but I didn’t really recognise any of them live. Maybe I should give them another chance. Maybe there are two Early Years? Who knows? It’s probably worth finding out...

Download: The Early Years – All Ones And Zeroes
Download: The Early Years – I Heard Voices

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

my band Amy Blue had the early years supporting us at our first gig and they were a lot more sigur ros/mogwai back then, but we were so relieved that someone else was out there trying to revive the shoegazer thing a bit! their live show has got a small way to live up to their records but am sure they'll get there

roger said...

Evening - Its Roger from The Early Years here - thats Amusement Parks on Fire you were watching!! For some reason they wanted us to play after them.... anyway we normally play All ones and the new single so you would probably have recognised them..!! Pretty funny anyhow

take care!!

The Daily Growl said...

Wow! That's hilarious! That explains everything! Must get to see you properly sometime - then I can do a proper review of the Early Years! Do forgive me - I'd never seen a photo of you...