'a loungy, laid back world of observations and occurrences' Trebuchet's Samantha Chamberlain reviews Simian Ghost live at Surya.
Simian Ghost, Suraya, Kings Cross. 10th April.
Sebastian Arnstromis in specs and a simple white T, guitarist Erik Klinga in a paisley red shirt, Mathias Zachrisson is hidden behind a smorgasboard of drums and sound boxes. Sebastian has a kitchen table soundbox set-up with knobs that he twiddles and messes around with, and a laptop for backing tracks, jingly bells, chimes, wonderlust moments All add to this avant garde, electron geek chic music.
knobs that he twiddles and messes around with
As the first 'New Band of the Day', in The Guardian this year, Simian Ghost are predicted as contenders for album of the year. This is 'Swedish boy wonder,' Sebastian Arnstrom's intellectual project of distraction to save him from moments of neurosis. The gig follows their second album Youth released in March and features songs from that album, as well as from their previous EP Lovelorn and the album. It’s a kooky, sexy mix of electronic beats and nylon pop. He takes us through everyday experiences, that are transformed into quirky uplifting arrangements and auroric moments in this intimate venue.
electronic beats and nylon pop
The venue is perfect with a plastic, neon glitzy feel, silver CDs cover the back wall. Although, as the music starts, at times it is as if we are transported to the ambience of a hotel lobby. There are a handful of people here tonight in this intimate setting. Sebastian Arnstrom muses, 'this is the first gig Siman Ghost have done with water in-between…in a country that isn't connected to ours.' The crowd are proper trendy: beads, tweeds, tashes, full beards, non-matching hosiery on individual legs. Silver glitzy trainers stand out.
Sebastian breaks into the opening track 'Poolside Glow', from Lovelorn, immediately bathed in a glow of aurora lights, gentle beats and whispers. We are connected for the rest of the evening. Immediately we are strolling through Sebastian's life, 'When I was a kid I used to watch you pray, down by the pool, every summer day… you hide so many things….' Intense, bright colours and nature, a loungy, laid back world of observations and occurrences. Sebastian's voice is high tone, like a gentle falsetto, similar to Beck. The groove sets in and the psychedelic, ambient glow expands.
'Youth', is the track that stands out this evening, fun, quirky, romantic with a kooky sense of humour. Imagine dancing through the hotel lobby, into the elevator and the party gets started. Youth is cute and couchy, deep bouncy bass, buzz, chimes, sleazy lounge, whrrrs and echoes, a bit Gainsborough, as Sebastian can 'feel myself drifting off with you.' The set takes us through a mixture of Fred Judd'ian sound effects: birds singing, clapping chop stix, echoes, jumpy beats, chimes and jangles.
We land on 'Curtain Call', interesting lyrics suggest if you leave your dreams and ignore them, maybe you start to disappear: 'try to convey Ideas and dreams but no-one cares enough to speak, impatience makes you sell your soul, so we hear you on the radio.. you are fading out in stereo'. With echoing voice, thoughtful, vivid lyrics, calming and soothing, whispering ideas, and consistently quirky lounge, we can continue dancing into the lift. At last we are on the roof.
Ok, got it: 'communication, it's all about communication'. His voice drifts off and we are left with a feel of hopelessly fun romance, lazy days, and ephemeral lounging around.