Sextile / Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh | 23rd of January

Sextile / Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh | 23rd of January

The Patryns kick off the evening’s proceedings at Sneaky Pete’s with a competent and tight dose of indie-rock, and with only one EP and a handful of unreleased cuts to their name, the Grangemouth quartet manage to impressively weave flirtatious flings with reggae and blues into their set as well. Roundabouts’ bouncy guitar, together with Joe Evans’ confident vocals and stony demeanour, brings a reminiscent waft of Jake Bugg. Evans and rhythm guitarist Jamie Greenaway divvy up singing duties between tracks, and furthermore pair well for harmonies, specifically for What’s Been Going On?. Greenaway’s tones are still slightly unrefined — bringing a  blunter edge to the table — whereas Evans provides the easy indie charm that will serenade the unconverted to their cause. Lacking is a sense of unity to their sound, as though they trying to conquer too many genres under one moniker; the tracks stamped with their own seal are in amongst, but it would be great to hear more of them.

Where did all this smoke and darkness come from? ‘Hey everyone, we’re Sextile and we’ve come all the way from Los Angeles, California.’ This introduction, boldly belted by lead singer Brady Keehn, in tandem with the first six seconds of sonic madness, adequately solve the mystery of the atmos-shift. Clad in leather, peroxide bobs, tear emblazoned shirts, and snow-white jeans the Stateside-four-top lie on an aesthetic spectrum between Simon LeBon & Joey Ramone’s illegitimate love-child and Brian Jones suffering from a cosmic come-down. Sugar, spice, and all things nice are banished by this lot — smiling is a sin punishable by electro-lashing — but the evidence suggesting that these frenzied fiends are not having a goddamn riot is non-existent. They fucking love it.

What they sell is post-punk pandemonium — unfiltered and unceasingly intoxicating. Ripped’s furiously grimy synth (courtesy of Eddie Wuebben) and industrially cold percussion make Hans Zimmer’s climax of Blade Runner sound like the most vanilla of vaudeville. Keehn’s lyrics are generally smothered by the cacophony of distortion, but here his voice jumps through the fire, blazing with fury, preaching: ‘Death to the people who wanna oppress us!’ Undoubtedly, this is the band’s standout fusion of punk’s brazen energy and post’s retro-futurism.

Pulsating beats dictate the night, One of These invites us into the passenger seat of a game of Outrun turned demented, taking us for a ride through a neon-drenched dystopia. AVC creates a sense that our fate is being dictated by a malignant force, licking us in line with its whip-crack electro. Praise is due for Melissa Scaduto’s hammering toms as they consistently compete with Wuebben’s synths, but her might ensures that the band’s vicious backbone is never lost.

The Californian’s set is heavily dominated by their 2017 album Albeit Living, which puts noise and screeching at the head of the pack, leaving A Thousand Hands’ guitar work slightly shunned. This isn’t a colossal loss for the crowd, as the level of intensity (echoing the album) is persistent, seldom is there silence or a moment for reflection, and that’s the way we want it. Between ignition and termination, every last drop of their booming bombardment and aggressive, but never alienating, conviction is soaked up by the thirsty crowd who grovel for an encore and receive a double dose in reward for their sins.

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