Thursday, 15 November 2007

Teeming With Wildlife, Do The Robot @ Ric's Bar (9.11.07)

I figured that I should write about this gig today, else it will have been a week since the show which officially makes it old news in the fast-paced world of Brisbane's indie-rock scene. But fear not! For we are nothing if not timely.

I first saw Do The Robot... oh, I don't know... a while ago. Let's say it was about 9months previous. Anyway, I distinctly remember being really impressed with them, especially considering it was one of their first shows. Their shoegaze-inspired guitar parts mixed with interesting, energetic drum parts to create a really catchy sound that, while it wasn't really original per se (in fact it's actually very 'retro'), certainly had enough of its own character to help the band stand out as One To Watch. Fast forward to around 2 months later and I was watching the band play sans-drummer at Ric's Bar. It was... really boring. Without the energy provided by the drums things just seemed to drag on and on, compounded by the fact that most of their songs consist of one or two variations on a single chord progression.

After a few months break I had the chance to see them again this past Friday, this time in full-band mode. The consensus? They're really good, and certainly one of the more promising acts in Brisbane. I still think their songs are a bit long for what they are (stretching things out is great, but 5 songs in a 35 minute set when said songs are pretty much straight-forward pop songs is maybe pushing it a bit), but other than that there's a lot to like about the band. As I mentioned moments ago, their songs are pretty catchy and their sound is engaging. One thing I really appreciate about the band is their realisation that good 'shoegaze' isn't built solely on one man, a fender guitar and a whammy bar. In fact, while the whirling guitar parts in their songs have a certain lethargy, the drums and vocals are often quite insistent and lively. In summary, I'm really looking forward to seeing the band develop over the next year or so - I'm hoping that they can turn into a really interesting pop group. There aren't enough of those in Brisbane, most of our indie-rock bands seem to either be pop in a really obvious way, or they're completely un-pop (exceptions being bands like I Heart Hiroshima and The Rational Academy, who tend to do a good job of balancing the two elements).

Teeming With Wildlife mine similar territory to Do The Robot, but they replace the previous band's shimmering grace with huge amounts of fuzz and massive riffs. They have a real love of effects (mostly distortion), and a wall of amps to deliver them through. They also have that burried vocals thing going on - in fact, the vocals were so burried that I don't think I heard them once in the entire set. Most of their songs were either of the linear-build or the verse-chorus-verse varities, so being able to hear some vocal lines might have added a beneficial extra dimension. They're enjoyable if you're into listening to really really big riffs being played really really loudly. I don't think they're going to blow anyone's mind (well, they might do so through pure volume and guitar tone, I guess), but I don't think they're really aiming to rewrite any rulebooks. In fact, I'm pretty sure they've achieved exactly what they wanted to, that being to write songs that involve (as I said just two sentences ago) playing really really big riffs really really loudly. Basically, if you're into that sort of sound (and a lot of people are, myself included) they're a fun band to see.

1 comment:

Charlyn Cameron said...

I like your thoughts on Do the Robot. I saw them the same time you saw them, nine months ago. Actually it was at Fat Louie's. I was there to see Batrider play and Do the Robot were on before them. Second time I saw them was opening up for I Heart at The Zoo. I agree about the next 12 months, should be interesting to see them develop.