REVIEW: Cabins @ Melt, Sydney 20/08/10

written by Chris Familton

57th Street kicked things off with an impressive and assured set that harked back to the golden years of early britpop and madchester where psych, rock and pop collided with a dance aesthetic. The vocals were a tough and baggy hybrid of Ian Brown and Liam Gallagher that stretched out over some wonderful shoegaze guitar and super-catchy bass.

Step-Panther took a slightly different tact with short snappy songs that embraced surf-rock and agit-punk all the while retaining a fun, pop sheen. Vampire Weekend came to mind with Step-Panther’s vocal melodies but they are a louder and much rougher proposition with a clear desire for eclecticism.

Cabins were launching their first headline tour and the packed venue showed they have clearly built up a large local following. With the release of debut album Bright Victory they have stepped up from local club band to a having an album which people can compare to their live performances and more deeply immerse themselves in the songs. The songs were long, or at least they felt long with the heavy lidded pacing and slow burn approach to their dynamics. Each member looked to be in his own world, lost in the sound he was creating. Bassist Chris in particular seemed lost in the moment, his body writhing with the notes he was producing and totally oblivious to the crowd.

Among the elongated thrust and parry grooves there were three highpoints. The single Catcher In The Rye was darkly magnificent with it’s cascading and psychotic piano and a haunting guitar line that added colour to the ominous grind of the compelling song. Cabins added a cover to their set and chose Edwyn Collins’ A Girl Like You – turning the 60s soul stomp into a much darker and sordid affair with plenty of shadowy corners. It worked wonderfully and was akin to Nick Cave taking the song into a seedy alley bar to work his sleazy charm. Hounds proved to be a huge crowd pleaser with its teasing riff that was oh so satisfying when singer Leroy opened the blinds to the pressure release chorus before the malevolent verse returned.

It was great to hear a band building songs primarily on rhythm and the audience responded to the hypnotic swell of Cabins’ songs which meant their all too brief set that left many salivating for more.

this review first appeared in Drum Media

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