Live: Dead Sea Apes and Thought Forms 22-02-2017

In the cobwebby underworld of Soup Kitchen, two bands were performing to enliven our Wednesday nights with some sonic adventures.

First up it’s one of Manchester’s most popular support acts, the mighty Dead Sea Apes. It’s been a while since I’ve since the Stalybridge boys…

Brett’s astral-plane guitar spits vapour trails, but within such gleeful noise making he finds time to fire off flinty post-punk rhythms and spurts of energy. Here is a man (who owns a Schnauzer) torn between the urge to soundtrack slow-time battle cruisers with the urge to launch into catchy, accessible riffology. He seems like an extrapolated Will Sergeant.

Music this stately and grand can often be inert and rigid, but thankfully Dead Sea Apes’s rhythm section is what sets them apart from the hordes of heavy-ish space rock bands that drift the broad plains of bandcamp. Chris’ drumming is constantly scurrying and fizzing with a fiery intensity; Satan’s jazz drummer. Nick’s bass is fluid and serpentine, wrapping its way round the other instruments and occasionally taking point. Even when the music is slow you can nod your head to it, and when the engines fire up it’s bristling with a pent-up groove-energy. Seeing these two locked together leads to the conclusion that this is in fact an extreme funk outfit. No, really.

Then it hits: Dead Sea Apes are a post-rock / funk band. You didn’t see that one coming did you?
Then it’s Thought Forms, who were unfamiliar to these ears.

The overall impression is a Krautrock sense of freedom: five musos in black flitting across genres as they see fit. Their music constantly shifts: at times a sun-baked remorse, at other times clipping along with a motoric pulse. They often ripple with a Sonic Youth propulsion. The guitars are stringent and the drums sporadically burst into bombastic blocks that bring us nearer to metal. They switch from rhythmic to fractured with alarming ease. This is a band confident enough to end the set with an ambient soundscape of eastern drones and guitar experimentation.



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