Live (My Echo / Zero Point Field)
The curly boy at the mic, the singer of My Echo, is picked out frozen in the spotlight like Mac from the Bunnymen or some other such icon from more mysterious times. Throbbing synths add to the sense of otherworldliness – so far, so intriguing. The opening vocals then arrive in the form of that high, muffled kind, from the school known as ‘tortured’ or, more expansively, ‘Thom Yorke gets a bit upset’.
This sort of thing could easily go anywhere, be it high art-rock, techno noodling or jazz-crunk. However, the road it takes is clearly labelled Rrrock with a big R. The first song might be called ‘Git yr Motor Runnin ( George Bush is a big poo)’ but I can’t verify that. Our singer has another register too, but it’s one which is grimly reminiscent of Nickelback, the Calling or all those other thoroughly sincere but blindingly dull chaps with plaid underpants – grunge-lite in other words. And that’s the way their set goes, sadly bereft of invention.
Fortunately Zero Point Field are the reason I’m here tonight. Unfortunately their singer starts by apologising for having lost his voice, but he really needn’t worry. He’s got charisma, not to mention the looks and style of a hybrid of the young Keef Richards and the equally young Ronnie Wood, and he sounds just fine even with the lurgy.
ZPF’s first song is a riff with legs and the swagger of Guns’n’Roses when they were good, and I’m singing along with the chorus before it’s even halfway done. ‘OH YEAH… steal yourself away, OH YEAH… stay another day’ – remember it? No need, as it slides its way into your brain before too long with no effort required.
This is their forte throughout: genuine rock, played well. Even at their most trad ( the ‘gonna get ya’ opening of ‘Fahrenheit 451’ makes me think of Jet, which is hardly ever a good thing) they swagger brilliantly. The single ‘Something New’ is a blockrocking monster, but in truth the four songs they play before it are at least as good; strength and depth, as Alan Hanson would say. So no mate, don’t worry about your dodgy throat – unless when fully healthy you sound like Ronan Keating, in which case I recommend gargling with glass daily.
Which leaves us with The Oracleboy. I saw this lot a few months back and, though they only played two songs, there was clearly some serious promise in the air. Disappointing then that when they kick in tonight, I lose interest.
What’s more, I start having a daydream about Mansun. I won’t describe it to you – it was neither too good or too bad, and not half as radical as it was alleged to be. The first couple of songs meander in this way, but gradually they settle into an enticing rhythm. They can do decent indie quite well – choppy ‘Kevin Carter’ guitars, vocals straining at the leash – but it’s their ventures into Big Music that compel.
Forthcoming single ‘Clovers’ and it’s b-side do that vast open spaces thing beautifully and it’s clear that a lot of love has gone into these songs. Their two encores are throwaways, but I’m sure they’re capable of genuine beauty. Frustratingly though, I still haven’t seen that promise, so show me please, sometime soon?
Zero Point Field are tonight’s stars, throat issues or otherwise and I’m looking forward to their future!
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Written by McLaughlin on