Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Gig Review: PVT UK album launch at the Old Blue Last

I don't normally write reviews and try hard not to read them. Most of the time the bands who disapppointed one fussy, pretentious blogger are not because they are shit live, but it could have been the venue, the sound checks, the people around you, where you stood, how long it took you to get drinks etc that makes all the difference between heaven and hell.

The odds were pretty bad for the Sydney-trio PVT then. Tube strike, pouring rain, a miserable Monday in London, in the sweaty and oxygen-less upstairs of the Old Blue, only the most faithful fans could endure an hour-long blast without wishing to gulp some fresh air. The fact that I stood right next to a group of Frenchies who wouldn't stop babbling all the way throughit  didn't help either (this is what happens when you do an invite-only gig and people get in for free). Nevertheless, PVT put on a good show which improved and impressed, with moments of brilliance in In The Blood and The Quick Mile, but also spastic seconds of madness with the synths and guitar riffs piercing the ears in the likes of Light Up Bright Fires.

The truth is, PVT is not another band that sounds better on record than live. They have toured extensively for the last two years covering Europe and North America and have the confidence to experiment with different arrangements when playing their old hits, which is impressive when they constantly manage more than three pieces of instruments. The problem with a band that started as instrumental and then leaned more towards electronic and added on the vocal is that they have developed a way of laying out tracks based around the beats and synths first, the vocals don't necessarily come with it, but being added on later only when the urge of "ahh" and "ohh" kicks in. The final product might sound solid enough on record but cracks and falls apart easily live.

Like many old Pivot fans who fell in love with O Soundtrack My Heart, Church with No Magic is an appreciated change. It's one step away from the mid-ground where Pivot stood firmly between post-punk and electronic. An album from a band in transition, for better or worse, PVT dares to differ and keep you wanting more.

Watch the new video of their second sinlge Light Up Bright Fires from the new album, directed by Alex Smith. PVT will be back for their UK tour on the 28th of September, starting from Machester. Catch them at Cargo on the 6th of October.

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