Sea Monsters Vs SOURCE Review
As the third annual Sea Monsters festival opens, excited music lovers are queuing on the stairs to get into The Prince Albert. Selling out a gig in sub-zero temperatures on a Monday shortly after Christmas is always impressive, but then this is an impressive event: a total of twenty-nine local bands are playing in a week-long celebration. The dark room is festooned with underwater creatures and netting hangs from the ceiling, creating a party atmosphere.
Monday’s show is SOURCE vs One-Inch Badge, and first on the stage are former Chichester quartet 900 Spaces. Led by clear-voiced front-woman Emma Lou, the band drag Siouxsie Sioux to the present day via an indie disco vortex. Their songs have a knack of seeming familiar on the first listen, with infectious, sing-a-long choruses and original, driving bass lines. The whole set is a pleasant listening experience, with a few stand-out songs that show their potential as song-writers, including a new song, ‘Elijah,’ and their closing track, which loops samples and builds to a soulful crescendo.
Second to the stage are another four piece, but that’s where the similarities end. thedealwasforthediamond are an angular, progressive band who will delight fans of Tool and The Mars Volta. With powerful and aggressive bass lines weaving together and jagged, tight, rumbling drums, this is a band who keep you enthralled and then leave you exhausted. There’s a passion behind the songs which is utterly believable, and if the music alone didn’t convince, the facial expressions will confirm the commitment these musicians have.
Recent SOURCE cover stars Kins are the penultimate act, and they’re a stylish outfit who make fine use of echo and reverb. Pulsing, longing vocals drift through astral waves of sound, building gentle and delicate songs. There’s a sense that they’re holding back slightly, and the melancholy tone gives a depth and dreamy quality to Kins’ appeal. Originally from Australia, they’re now one of Brighton’s finest live bands.
The headliners for this sold-out show are Written In Waters, an impossible to pigeon-hole band merging gothic with gospel, via progressive 90s pop. The front-woman is immediately endearing, and her vocals are as hard to define as the overall music. Imagine Heather from M People raising the dead under a moonlit sky, and you’d be close. The orchestral, haunting music is lifted by a vocalist who put so much emotion into each track that she’d be forgiven for passing out afterwards.
Prince Albert, Monday 21st January 2013
Words by Jessica Marshall McHattie
Photos by Rob Orchard for Brighton Music Blog