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  • Last Stop Sounds

Pleasure Island, OBFUSC8, Shoplifter and Ombudsmen at Kazimier Stockroom, Liverpool, 24 Nov 2022

This gig was in aid of Food Not Bombs.

Mancunians Ombudsmen brought their full on nihilistic electro pop meets Neu! via Faust and with a twist of dark humour to Liverpool. A resplendently stylised mix of heavy guitar that sounds like a synth and synths that sound like drums and a bass that sounds like a bass but with aspirations. On top of this float eerie vocals that are deep and melancholic then suddenly sharp and briefly screaming. The band have a whole sound and it is all encompassing, it surges with rhythmic passion and borders on Space Rock on occasion. (Editor: restraint from mentioning Hawkwind is noted).

Shoplifter are nifty, teasingly ironic and then blatantly sending out messages. Visually there’s the obligatory synth player looking cool, a guitarist in an eyehole balaclava giving a Moscow Death Brigade vibe out and pop idol vocalist who subverts the genre by playing with it before tossing it aside with the lyrics. They play a knowing game, their synth beats and sharp lyrics give them an edgy air of wisdom. Danceable and catchy with a strange ‘slowy’ section thrown in that has half the audience paring up and leaning on each other shoulders singing along. Cool as fuck though.

OBFUSK8 don’t storm the stage like they would like to, technical problems and a long setting up phase prevent this but when they get going its a frustrating mix of powerful industrial sounds and breakdowns in technology. When it all works its powerful doom stuff, filled with random political messages and ‘all about love not hate’ whilst being confrontational and thanks to the front person is very audience participatory. Viewed as a whole there are some stand out moments of melody and hardcore mixed together.The ideas are bigger than this presentation of them, art scribbles adorn the floor and some truly amazing guitar playing. It’s hard to admire it as a car crash but there is beauty and honesty found in its twisted metal forms.

Pleasure Island are a duo and we love duo’s. Drums, guitar and vocals work together seamlessly and produce a sound that is full yet weirdly admits that it’s a duo. They explore fully how to do this trick. In the case of Pleasure Island they do it by firstly having a drummer that is truly excellent filling out the room with beats. Then adding a guitar that is creative and varied and plays the rhythm one second and the melody the next, a dextrous performance that would take most guitarists to their limits but when you add vocals on seems impossible. There’s Bernard Butler references but then the guitar moves beyond and creates a whole world of sound.

Words and Photos: Richie Yates





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