Until very recently SE London post-steppers Breton (named for the daddy of surrealism rather than the obscure language – though either suits) have been the exclusive property of bloggers, fashionistas, insiders and metropolitan hipsters. Their increasing popularity in mainland Europe (France in particular), a swaggering assault at SXSW and a subsequent sell-out US tour combined with some positive press attention and a debut album that looks likely to stand tall in this week’s charts has made them potential poster-boys of all things dark and dance driven for a much broader spectrum of fans.
Their first, very much sold out London headline show sees them step up their live game accordingly. Gone is the hooded head-down introspection of last summer’s Tom Vek support slots, replaced by aggressive and delicate multimedia attack on the senses.
New track ‘Ordnance Survey’ kicks hard, a drugged, frustrated dose of bubbling sonic violence that sends shivers down the spine as the beats kick in. Despite technical issues, the best and bleakest bits of Other Peoples’ Problems practically erupt from the speakers – ‘Edward The Confessor’ swiftly followed by ‘Interference’ pummeling the room with infectious, adventurous sonic landscapes and big hooks while Roman Rappak adapts to his new role as confident, powerhouse frontman and multi-instrumentalist Ian Patterson controls the dense textures and glitchy beats with concentrated cool.
Adam Ainger’s precision attack drumming cuts through the insanely great ‘Jostle’ – as threatening and simultaneously joyous as ever while Daniel McIlvenny switches up between bass and backing vocals while Ryan McClaron carefully operates the film that accompanies their every live appearance. They’re unfazed by the ongoing tech issues, even passing around a bottle of Jameson’s as the show progresses and the room sweats harder. Even when things seem to get out of hand, they remain five guys with a level of mastery at their fingertips that’s so rare in new music – every sound has a point, every rhythm a purpose, every half-drowned vocal an addition to the atmosphere.
Closing with the unreleased, driven ‘Foam’ and ‘Episodes’ we’re left with a sense of a band that can somehow bring dance to the darkness, a little bit of poetry to pop and one that’s finding its collective feet and becoming a compelling live force. It seems a little exposure to the sunlight has brought them fighting out of their shells.
Michael James Hall