The Letter Keep it Simple to Rise Above the Sum of Their Influences

Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Monday, April 28th, 2008

The Letters, Sharp Darts, Geek at The PM Freestyle Lounge, Shipley

Sharp Darts include a cover of The Strokes Last Night in their set. They perform it faithfully and entertainingly but as they play through that and the rest of a set of song early in the day at The PM Freestyle Lounge in Shipley one is left with the impression that the band will struggle to be more than the sum of the parts they put together.

Which is not to say that they are not admirable - not as impressive as The Swing Movement perhaps but still not without their merits - just that the Strokes with a dash of Babyshambling lyrics and the de rigeur swagger leaves them rather predictable. They go up and down because - well - that is where bands like this go up and down and while the vocal gets lost under the impossible to master sound of this converted loft venue the band earn and deserve the applause at the end of their set.

Dalliance is in Shipley to greet The Letters who are performing gig number four in slot number three in the all day event. Guitarist Leon Carroll will leave the stage unhappy saying he made too many mistakes but he starts out impressively and ends too harsh a critic as the band work well with their charisma and simplicity coming through.

Simplicity being an underrated virtue in this world where post-rock's complicated soundscapes are increasingly common and The Letters are never better than when they had a guitar, a bass and a set of drums banging out classic (indie) pop tunes in a verse/chorus/verse structure which boils down the melting pot of experience into something smaller and purer. They add a second guitar for singer Kelly half way through the set which muddies these waters a little and suits them less well.

New songs are added in the place of covers and The Letters take on a more sombre, more mellow tinge - "I wonder if it is possible/To love somebody’s lies." emotes Kelly showing the potential breadth of the band. They finish off with Drive and Leon is too harsh a critic of his afternoon's work.

Geek follow the path of recent Pavement influenced would be American college bands in West Yorkshire and they soon turn into a wall of noise after starting the set with an inspired guitar flurry.

The vocal is lost and the organ sound superfluous. They play covers from Rocket from the Crypt and one is back to the idea that to impress a band should strive to be more than the sum of their influences and far too often they fail in this.

Written By Michael Wood Monday, April 28th, 2008

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