Chapel Club, Heaven, London
Monday 21 February 2011
Vocalist Lewis Bowman smiles wryly as he flexes his sinewy fingers, wrapping them tightly around his microphone. Starting a show with your best-known single is risky, but as Bowman delivers the gothic, melancholic lyrics of "Surfacing", which samples the 1930s classic "Dream a Little Dream of Me", he clearly relishes the challenge.
The London quintet are often lumped with the plethora of other Eighties-inspired efforts on the musical market. It's understandable then that lads from Chapel Club (so named because of the band's interest in religious themes) need to make statements to single themselves out.
So far, and to much critical acclaim, their debut album, Palace, has achieved this aim. Released at the end of January, it boasts some clever poetry, intriguing forays into the darker depths of indie, and plenty of positive comparisons to Echo and the Bunnymen.
However, for a band with so much potential, this packed gig under the arches of London's Heaven (the last night of the album tour) shows the band still have a lot left to prove.
Bowman tells the crowd that "Roads" is a song about being dropped off half a mile from home in the cold by the tour manager, and walking the rest of the way. The song is as flat as its introduction, offering a somnolent blend of groaning guitars, tempered drums and lacklustre bass that exemplifies much of the gig. "Fine Light" is a fleeting high, mostly because it's abrupt change-up in pace seems to wake up the bassist as much as the crowd.
"Oh Maybe I", usually a thumping glimpse of optimism, misses the opportunity to change direction in what is fast becoming a monotonous set. "Bodies", though it attracts a few screams from adoring female fans, indulges in its repetitions and fails to move the majority of the crowd.
"Five Trees" and "The Shore" serve as a reminder that when it comes to writing, Chapel Club have potential. Tonight, it just wasn't fulfilled.
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 2 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 3 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 UK weather: Britain braced for snow to replace sun as arctic air mass moves in
Broadchurch series 3: David Tennant and Olivia Colman to return for third season, ITV confirms
Poldark finale, review: How a costume drama became a Sunday night swoon-fest
Al Pacino admits he was nearly fired from The Godfather and it's still his most 'difficult role'
Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik tops Sunday Times Rich List
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 3, review: Sansa and manhood-lopping torturer Ramsay Bolton - really?
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove