LITTLE XS FOR EYES @ Whelan’s

DSC_0176_effectsFrom what we seen of this band tonight, and our first time to see them play live also, is that they have to be a band that are going places. With the smart determination of their opening track ‘Disko Bay’ they had the audience, and this reviewer, in the palm of their hand. In terms of the showmanship there was also a noted precedent about it all, Then came that opening line off the back of that which gave it something tidy and affirmative. The sleight of hand in the shoegazer traces give it an attractiveness that wraps around it comfortably. But with the pop sensibilities it is very much an outstanding affair from start to finish, while the kick that picks it all up is also rather exceptional in its own right. This allows the nou disco calling come to the fore before being cleverly slowed down as it closes.

After that came ‘Summer Stay’. With the devout and lush calling here there is a clever appeal to be found. This is enhanced further by how the vocals and rhythm get behind it. This gives everything a retro characteristic which adds appeal. How this is cleverly furnished in terms of layering works extremely well for the arrangement and is mirrored by the determination which collects. With an upcoming video in the works for it, ‘Loser Leaves Town’ brings a more cautious approach to the mix. The catchy hooks in the beat are rather tidy. Another feature that boxes clever here is how the vocals immediately set to work. But it is not a charm offensive without purpose as you can clearly see where both style and substance meet. Here they show something that is rich in volume. The design also accommodates the texture of the rhythm in a way that completes the showing. While the elegance of the electronic flourishes corners the nouveau chic squarely.

As a track, ‘Nearer To Nowhere’ has a somewhat docile feel that is both fluid and concise. There is a great deal of worth to be found here that makes for a very engaging affair. The becoming qualities hang off this and maintain consistency in a way that is incredibly astute. With how the lead guitar bellows away ‘In Glue’ finds its calling in the simplicity but also has an intrinsic hue about it akin to ‘Albatross’ by Fleetwood Mac. That chaste quality is gifts the still closeness something that sees it right in a calculated way. Here they display how productive they are with the steady handling on show. That is appreciated collectively and the highly reflective temperament of the lyrics plays like a dream here as it adds its own hint of conclusiveness to the delivery. Listening to the album,

LITTLE XS 2‘Phantom Wings’ and ‘Love Gets Lost’ play as if they are two halves of the one song. Here they improvised by playing both by leading one in from the other without skipping a beat. The first opens with an offbeat and eccentric harmony that splits in two. Here they also work the crowd. The J-Pop sophistication here is really well represented. There is a grace about the refinement in the highly detailed instrumental touches. It is incredibly clever when it is upbeat and they have the confidence in themselves to know it. With the continuation into ‘Love Gets Lost’ that assessment of your opinion from hearing it on their album is confirmed. This time everything clocks in. The vocals are superb and the showmanship overall is nothing short of exceptional.
If you go to Whelan’s and gaze upward you will notice a drum kit on the ceiling. The band informed us that their claim to fame is being the last band to have played on said kit last time they played Whelan’s. That anecdote aside, ‘Funk Island’ has more of an inward call to the intro. This then gives way and the revelry sweeps in to acknowledge the clear indication of how realised the band are when it comes to their music. This is reflected in the abundant collection of their intent. The retro calling really gets beneath the tempo and it is orchestrated in a way that gets the best out of it all.

‘In Three Years’ is a resounding tune that is cleverly rounded upon. In a way it has a slight touch of sexiness that the stray calypso qualities command in a settled way from what their flourishes bring to the mix. Here they line up all their ducks in a row. The vocals are also in sync and the telling dynamics as a whole work extremely well. With a slight hint of ‘1979’ by The Smashing Pumpkins in the undertone, ‘Sleeping Hearts’ ensues furthermore from the shoegazer apparel that ensues. This is light but also rather solid. The play is concentrated intelligently. What shapes the demeanour here breaks it all down cleverly and is a descriptive effort overall. But they saved the best until last. For having ‘Logical Love’ as something to call their own they have the proverbial cat in the bag. What a great tune indeed. The fondness to this richly procures everything but it is the nou-disco beat that is the real outstanding feature here. This is contained by the volume and texture. Watching it performed live is a level of bliss that can’t be replicated by listening to it. The performance here had a certainty to it that saw them close in a way that left the audience wanting more.

Photography by Dom Marceleno (U&I Gigs Photographer)

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