The Lionheart Brothers, The Social, London
Tuesday 22 January 2008
There's nothing like a spot of lacerating Norwegian psychedelia to brighten up a wet winter's night in January, and those who crammed into The Social for a taste of this up-and-coming Trondheim quintet met with an experience they won't forget in a hurry.
The guitarist, Morten Oby, warned us that they would be loud. "Just stick some toilet paper in your ears," he suggested, before treating us to as vivid a display of angst as Norway can have produced since Edvard Munch knocked out The Scream. At one point, Oby actually seemed to be trying to climb one of the walls. The lead singer, Marcus Forsgren, it has to be said, was a much more benign presence.
In the tidal wave of electronic sound that crashed through the room, the melodic contours of the Lionheart Brothers' debut album, Dizzy Kiss, were somewhat flattened out, and any expectations of hearing the Beach Boys-like harmonies that adorn the record were soon dashed.
Then again, the inspiration for the music seemed to be as much Chemical Brothers as Wilson brothers, unmistakably so on the Lionhearts' stand-out track, "Bring It Down", a shimmering, hallucinatory epic that used an irresistible drum riff as a platform from which to swoop and soar.
While Audun Storset's organ gave the music its deeper perspective – at times, as on the fierce "Love Ludicrous", to the obliteration of everything in the foreground – it was the drummer, Peter Rudolfsen, who really caught the ear and eye. In contravention of the unwritten rule that says a drummer should always be at the back, Rudolfsen took up a position that was nudging into the front row before using his imposing frame to put his kit through some severe punishment.
On "50 Souls and a Discobowl", things threatened to get out of hand as Rudolfsen worked himself into a frenzy and Oby went round making stabbing gestures with his guitar, ultimately disappointing those for whom this display could only satisfactorily end with the instrument being smashed. Still, that was about the group's only compromise in a show of huge assurance and verve.
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