The Prince Albert, Brighton
Oxford in recent years has become rather well known for producing a steady flux of first-class new talent. Foals led the pack, whilst Trophy Wife, Chad Valley, Jonquil and Pet Moon have been snapping at their heels. Tonight sees Trophy Wife the former head down to the seaside to prove their mettle and break away from the mere group momentum of their Blessing Force peers.
Kicking off, the band initially suffer with a slight lack of gusto. Sound problems for the quartet mar the first track and it takes a further couple for them to engage fully. The band are road-testing new songs from their forthcoming debut LP and, although highly listenable, there’s nothing really new here. It’s their best-known track ‘Microlite’ – a gauzy yet danceable thing full of synthetic dapples and subtle, processed beats – that draws the warmest reception. Reverberating riffs and galloping drum beats tinged with pop fill the room elsewhere, whilst ‘Heavy Touch’ sees a myriad of synth melodies layered in to get people dancing. However, by the time the group finally seem comfortable in their own skins and the set shows some real passion, it is all over and we are left hankering for more.
Foals are a tough act to follow, and the comparisons and expectations hang in the air like a heavy weight. Despite showing promise and talent, Trophy Wife (and tonight’s tour-mates, friends and fellow Oxford-types Chad Valley) will need to show more passion than they do on stage tonight if they’re going to rival their predecessors.