Things are getting rather hot under the collar at the Brudenell.
“Do you like them on or off?” asks Spiral Stairs main man Scott Kannberg, whipping them off to demonstrate the appeal.
After much audience debate he opts to keep them off.
His glasses, that is.
If it takes him this long to decide on his eyewear then it’s little wonder the Los Angeles based musician took eight years to release the band’s second album, Doris And The Daggers. Yet despite being a founding member of Pavement, this is the only trace of slacker in his solo project (backed on this tour by four band members).
The music is sharp and at times punk influenced, with one track sounding like Bob Mould on slightly run-down batteries, and ‘Stolen Pills’ borrowing the keyboard sound from The Stranglers. Set opener ‘Dance (Cry Wolf)’, meanwhile, is all jittery, early 80s Bowie and the closest they get to a floor filler.
The heaviness is nonetheless damped down by a love of country rock that expands from the small-scale Springsteen-isms of ‘Trams (Stole My Heart)’ to the Dylan goes classic AM rock of ‘Angel Eyes’ and ‘Lorraine’ (the latter being pulled from Kannberg’s previous project Preston School of Industry).
This influence lends the material a warm, melodious quality even when the playing gets heavy or paranoid. It doesn’t, unfortunately, add any unique selling point and all too often the outfit slump into pleasantly forgettable 90s indie rock.