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Two Wounded Birds @ Sticky Mike's Frog Bar - December 7th 2011
Two Wounded Birds are truly the British equivalent to the USA’s Brooklyn based vintage surf pop dreamers, The Drums. They share a similar love for 50/60s throwbacks, conventional pop structure and cliched song titles (Together Forever), but yet still hold onto that familiar British sense of melancholy. Replacing quirky synths and tie dye for a stricter regime of leather jackets and crackly amps, It’s was the almost perfect match up then that this Margate quadruplet supported the Drums during their European tour. Since then, the band have gone from strength to strength, honing their idiosyncratic fusion of hazy pop and British rock n roll to the excitement of a rapidly expanding following.
During their UK tour then it seemed only right that they’d head along the coast to Brighton’s Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar. Brighton’s Ice Black Birds and Bournemouth’s Young Boys opened the night and supplied enthusiastic rock n roll sets much to the Sticky Mike’s crowd’s enjoyment.
It wasn’t long though before Two Wounded Birds took the stage and swept the audience into an atmospheric, voiceless flurry of ambience, reverb and perilously indulgent instrumental. From this sparked a revelation. For a band thrown into the media’s focus by parallels with Brooklyn’s surf pop hipsters, as well as the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, the darkness of their live show served quite a contrast to their media portrayal. This is probably to be expected given the generic combination of name dropping, ‘sounds like’ and hyperbole that litter modern press releases, but the extent to which this darkened atmosphere remains integral to their live sound was still a shock.
After this initial surprise though this moody, rebellious streak was refreshing, Johnny Danger’s fleeting engagement with the crowd and their reserved, sullen stage presence began to make sense. The only glimmers of their surf pop come British rocker portrayal came in their hasty final track ‘All We Wanna Do’, two minutes of ecstatic dancing, frenetic guitar and scat like vocals.
The show then was revelatory, clearly they have no desire to become Britain’s answer to the 21st century surf pop resurgence, and seem quite uncomfortable with the pigeon hole their hype has placed them in. Having not yet found their feet, or their sound for that matter in the post-Drums world of regular 50s throwbacks, major musical decisions are looming in their future. That doesn’t for a moment stop them though from capturing the same British disillusionment and youthful naivety they’ve always represented.
Words & Photos by www.heymancheckmyband.com
Date: Tuesday 13th December 2011