Live Review: Collarbones Alhambra Lounge

4 July 2012 | 7:03 am | Sky Kirkham

Collarbones look like they’re having a lot of fun tonight.

Motion Picture Actress starts a little late tonight, and it's still a somewhat disappointing turn-out by the time he starts, but that's definitely not dampening the quality of the tunes he's pumping. Drawing from debut EP, NaturalGhost, along with newer cuts like current single True, MPA makes the most of the massive sound here tonight; throbbing bass lines fill the spaces around fractured beats and soulful samples and while it's a little too glitchy to get people dancing, there are a lot of heads bopping along.

Bon Chat, Bon Rat start with a much gentler sound; delicate arpeggios and sweet, heavily-reverbed vocals defining their experimental-pop. When the drums and bass kick in, it gives the music weight, and the introduction of live drums to the mix results in a much fuller sound compared to their recordings. The drums do briefly threaten to overwhelm the other instrumentation early on, but that's quickly brought under control and there's a very solid mix of the live and triggered music for most of the show. The music is good, with an intensity in the live performance that's missing from the recordings, but overall it still feels a little unpolished. Too many pauses within the songs and occasionally incomplete endings mar the flow of and leave things feeling a bit tentative. When everything does come together though, it's seriously impressive, and as Bon Chat, Bon Rat tighten up a little, they'll definitely be moving on to big things.

Marcus Whale begins Collarbones' set with a brief a capella number before bandmate Travis Cook fades in the music and segues into a very nice, bouncy tune, with crunchy distorted beats. Hypothermia sees a continuation of this very effective combination as Whale's soulful, pop-inflected vocals sit above a rave-style melody line, before they slow things down and bring out a very R&B-influenced sound, somewhat akin to Oscar + Martin. Where Bon Chat, Bon Rat ratcheted up the intensity in their live show tonight, Collarbones have smoothed some of the edges in their music. There's still a lot of interesting and unusual rhythms, but with Whale's vocals more dominant in the mix, there's a greater focus on the pop aspects of the productions.

Collarbones look like they're having a lot of fun tonight. After a couple of songs to settle in, they look genuinely thrilled to be on stage, with Whale dancing around infectiously during instrumental sections and chatting to the audience between songs. Closer Beaman Park sees him leave the stage to join the crowd, with Cook following at the end for a wild dance-along to Eric Prydz's Call On Me; a light-hearted and curiously appropriate finale to a delightful set.

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