Exlovers - The Waiting Room, London 19/06/12
Last night saw exlovers celebrate their long-awaited debut album Moth with a launch party at The Waiting Room in Stoke Newington. Masses of guilt-ridden audience members (including myself) tumbled into the basement venue towards the very end of the main support’s set, as everyone had been glued to the England game being screened above, but complete attention focussed upon exlovers as they took to the stage.
The London five-piece create a pure, sweet and dreamy environment within which they play quintessential pop songs that are beautifully decorated with artistically tasteful aesthetics. Breezing through the set with well thought out boy/girl vocals working in perfect cooperation and intelligent shoegazing guitars, it was obvious to see that the crowd were falling helplessly in love with exlovers.
Expectations were exceeded even further when they unveiled 'Unloveable'. This slow-paced treasure is utterly absorbing, with gorgeously interlocking pitch-bending guitars and exhibiting a stroke of dream-pop songwriting genius. It was all going far too swimmingly.
Then something unfortunate happened. As they were preparing to close the performance with one last number the drummer’s bass drum had faltered on him, thus making the drums effectively useless. This was an archetypal car-crash moment, where most would have had to call it a day at this point and end on an absolute anti-climax, yet exlovers soldiered on regardless.
After a brief team-talk regarding how to recover from this technical upset, a decision was made and vocalist Laurel addressed the audience "we’re not sure if this is going to work, so we’re just as new to this as you." They played a slower, stripped-down version of previously released single 'This Love Will Lead You On' with the drummer contributing to the best of his resources with tambourine in hand. The show must go on.
It was not long until everyone in the room realised that what developed as an unwanted misfortune had transcended into a beautiful mistake. Witnessing a song of this calibre played in it’s bare bones gives us an insight of how it was originally written before it was brought to the full band. The crowd also played their part in supporting exlovers’ persistence to continue by clapping and singing along. This act had a visibly humbling effect on the band as they were all gleefully smiling at each other on stage in the acknowledgment that they have made something special; a genuinely moving sentiment that is incredibly rare to be evoked during any live performance.
I know we're only half way through 2012, so ask me again on New Year Eve, but I still think this will go down as gig of the year.
The acts were spread across the two rooms of the railway arched venue so you could move between to two. The bands were quite a diverse mix of artists from the twee, yet dark retro pop of Exlovers to the haunting, experimental electro-pop of The Vandoos, a cool, traditional indie band with a nos... [read more]
Exlovers have an infectious immediacy. The first time I listened to their début effort Moth I was immediately drawn in. I envisaged writing an overwhelming positive review, slavering them with praise and slapping on an unreasonably high score. Their music sounds so bright, so cheerful that it's impossible to dislike when you first listen to it. [read more]