R*E*P*E*A*T Presents
Cosy Cosy, Polaris and Sound City Riot Act, Cambridge Portland Arms, 20.8.05

Sound City Riot Act is a brilliant name for a band, pure genius. Not sure it's quite the right one for this band though. Yes they use sound to create a riot, but it's not one the cops would be interested in. From the moment they take start to play, they use their sounds to create so many emotions and so many pictures in the mind. It's hard to avoid the cliché of 'dreamy soundscapes' because in this case it's pretty accurate, the music is just so descriptive and enveloping and atmospheric and unusual, it's easy to sink luxuriating into it when you only wanted to immerse your little toe. The pieces are all instrumental, as the music coneys all that needs to be said, in the vein of Magoo, CRS*, Slowdive (are Manics fans allowed to mention Slowdive in a positive light?) and perhaps God Speed You Black Emperor. The music has so many layers, so many variations of tempo and dynamics, so much power, that it's hard to remember it's all coming from 3 blokes on a stage, until we are brought back to earth by their inter song banter. When they're playing, however, they are intense, evocative and mysterious, as this photo is meant to show.

They've got a neat line in propaganda too.

Sound City Riot Act website here

Polariss maybe too young to remember Kenickie, but there's something of that late lamented band in the confident aura of their front person Steph. Their music is crunchy, poppy, punchy and with strong melodies, and in this respect too they remind me of Kenickie, although others have said Ten Thousand Manics and The Cranberries. This could be due to the difference between their live and recorded sound, and I much prefer the latter. It's a far less polished, with a more raw and punky sound as the instruments duel and grapple with each other, although the twin vocal harmonies always anchor the songs in the land of pop. The use of some very accomplished violin and saxophone playing gives Polariss a new take on this poppy-punk thing, and everyone who watched was won over with all sorts of wild and silly dancing. With some careful aiming, Polariss could indeed sink the ship of dumb boy and girl bands Pop.

Polariss website here

And then it was Cosy Cosy. What can I say about them that I haven't said already? Their boy-girl harmonies, spiky guitars and driving rhythms touch all the right buttons, and soon the room was heaving. New songs like 'Edge of the World' and 'Lights of the Disco' show the band developing their sound, using more variation of tempo and structure to build for a more potent attack, but it's still the trade mark twin vocals, fizzy guitars and hooks by the fishing shop full that will barrage you into submission. Listening to Cosy Cosy is like being a health food fanatic faced by a yummy cream cake or a plate of chips; you can look away all stern and sour faced for a while, but pretty soon you know you'll have grabbed that bun or those chips and be munching on them with a mighty grin on your face. And by the end of the night, we were all gorging.

Cosy Cosy website here

Three bands, all slightly different but all with great talent, originality, talent and songs; how can anyone say there's nothing exciting going on in Cambridge?


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