Planet Eyelash, Darling Don’t Dance SUB071 2/11/2012

Their last two tracks of the night are complete burn outs; the two guitarists standing stock still facing of each other, trying to become entwined by the power of feedback alone. They are, to put it mildly, fucking good.

 

I’ve never seen so many girls in the SUB… not since Las Kellies played here about 5 years ago. This time the regulars shuffle awkwardly round the murky surroundings, painfully aware of this brash, colourful gaggle of lasses that have seemingly invaded this tiny space. This particular evening, the SUB boasts two bands on show - first from Holland - the brilliantly named Planet Eyelash, who have been here before, round about a year ago. Planet Eyelash make a power pop noise, there isn’t a pedal in sight, just guitars amps and a shed load of open handed, honest charm. I feel the fact that there are no pedals is significant, but I don’t know why. The songs are open, brash, and quite metallic in a very obvious, shiny way: they mix certain punk pop sensibilities that wouldn’t have shamed The Undertones or X-Ray Spex with some very (surprising) Euro metal stylings. The music is at times extremely basic, the sort of thing a 12 year old would write… (I know none of their songs but I’ll bet they’ll have names like Hangin’ Tough or Life’s a Bitch or something like that), but somehow the fact that they don’t seem to care about what we think lends a lot of charm. Insistent choruses, curt, cut-to-the-point solos, just the right amount of texture added. And all held together by a rumbling bass part. On this night, and in this setting it works as a chirpy, refreshing springboard for the night’s entertainment.

Most noticeable is the band themselves: they are a gang, I don’t think you can ever doubt that, but they are all incredibly different in their own way, and incredibly normal looking in the sense that you would never ever think they were that arsed about being in a band in the first place. Usually people in bands attempt to project a kind of presence – to show the audience who is boss. Outside the Nico-esque singer (a true daughter of the stage in the way she holds herself, and the mic stand together throughout), the rest look like they’ve just got in from work. The smiling and nods of encouragement and affirmation that goes on between the two guitarists is – and I mean this in the nicest, most unaffected, most frank and sincere way I can summon – utterly charming. They tell us later that they have dropped their old punk sound, and that they practise in Zwolle, because they come from Utrecht, Groningen, Nijmegen, Leeuwarden and Ommen respectively. That is, seriously, all over the shop.

Contrast these tomboys next door with the headliners, Denmark’s Darling Don’t Dance, who look – despite their protestations to the contrary – like some sort of faerie band beamed in from another planet. Maybe there are a number of pointers here to make about what constitutes a girl band in the Danish scene – especially when contrasted against Holland - but I can’t be arsed extemporising. Later we catch them leaving SUB, each wrapped in the choicest of vintage clothes, each carrying a sort of small vintage hand suitcase. Another, far more interesting contrast; the two guitarists have a set of pedals that obviously procreate each time they are packed away…

How many pedals do you need? Quite a number when you consider the demented sub-Spector electronic squall that they set up. The songs are very much set in that line of art rock that takes its cue from the Breeders and Belly: pointed and stylish stuff, just that right side of being a bit droney, drenched in feedback and mid tones… Sometimes they have a skitty element to their muse that allows them to leave the raw edges alone, avoiding the whole thing getting too mannered or too Pre Raphaelite, avoiding any “whither now, lady” criticisms…. Their rhythm section is possibly their hidden weapon, flexing its considerable muscle in a quiet way, propping up all this feedback nonsense with one hand, or so it seems… Other things to like? Well, the singer has a brash, rasping laugh that is very endearing, and there is a lot of steel in them, miniature suitcases and vintage clothing aside. Their last two tracks of the night are complete burn outs; the two guitarists standing stock still facing of each other, trying to become entwined by the power of feedback alone. They are, to put it mildly, fucking good.

After this Incendiary unwisely decides to go to the pub with Planet Eyelash and other sceneheads leaving the next morning as an offering on the ever growing funeral pyre that we call hangover. But worth it, as indeed both bands were.