I saw these girls at the Swn festival the week before this gig. They blew me away in Cardiff so I jumped at the chance of seeing them again closer to home. Once again I was left amazed.
Date: October 31, 3016
It’s Halloween. Two almost identical dark spectres float onstage like apparitions and then hover eerily over their laptops and keyboard.
A mass of long, tangled dark hair obscures their identities as it cascades downwards in pure horror movie style.
But when the 17-year-old girls lift their heads to kick start the deeply processed aching beats of Deep Six Textbook with a playful hand slapping routine that’s more child’s play than Child’s Play, you sense this Norwich duo have a few tricks and treats, even if a ghost in their Apple Mac threatens to dent their mystique at the very start of their set.
Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth are BFFs from way back, and they know exactly what they’re doing. They know that their creepy, witchy facade adds to the intensity of their music, which is essentially dense psychedelic anti-pop, underpinned with a rich vein of experimentalism, punctuated by cheeky nods to school concerts with the much-maligned recorder introduced.
Eat Shiitake Mushrooms is the closest the girls get to a full-blown pop song. It’s like Kate Bush dueting with Kate Tempest as she raps while Noel Fielding DJs as Vince Noir. Bonkers, especially with added saxophone.
Elsewhere, the infected fairy tale of Rapunzel is incredibly unnerving. Over a skittish piano line and malevolent recorder, Rosa purposely and emotively squeaks out a child’s voice (“I want my mummy!”) before the spooky nursery rhyme is injected with the whiny “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair”. Chilling stuff.
The girls remain aloof, choosing to say very little. In fact the only time they do speak is to apologise about the false start’ “That’s it, bye”, they jest. But that’s your lot. They don’t thank the audience, they don’t even acknowledge the audience. But it’s not them being rude, it’s just their way.
They swap instruments, adding drums, guitar, sax and a ukulele to their repertoire, almost awkwardly getting in each other’s way as they switch from one to the other.
Precocious, haunting, clever, affecting, intriguing, interesting, confusing, mesmerizing and utterly captivating.
They even leave us with Sink, a full-on German industrial rave. What?!
It’s like we’ve been allowed into their secret world, and this near sell-out crowd have found it spell-binding and mysteriously brilliant.