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The Lexington, London
LONDON'S Lexington markets itself as a classic British boozer turned lounge bar. Its upstairs room has hosted all manner of groups and doubles as a go-to venue for showcases, allowing bands to get up close and personal with the audience and that's what Piroshka do as they make their live debut.
Named after the Hungarian for Red Riding Hood, they are self-confessedly not an indie supergroup, even though they comprise shoe-gaze stalwart Miki Berenyi from Lush, Justin Welch, ex of Britpoppers Elastica, KJ McKillop from Moose and Modern English's Michael Conroy.
Live, the four-piece expand to six, adding keys, percussion and harmonies to the line-up. Their 45-minute set takes the audience on a roller-coaster ride through the band’s forthcoming debut album Brickbat and it's a mix of ethereal vocals, shimmering guitar and caustic commentary on the state of the nation.
Opener This Must Be Bedlam, an apt comment on Brexit negotiations, has punters immediately onside as the musical layers stack up. Run For Your Life is followed by Hated by the Powers that Be, inspired by that anti-Daily Mail pin badge, with Conroy’s bass feeding off Welch’s fevered drumming and McKillop’s and Berenyi’s guitars sitting on top.
The tracks meld cascading Lush-like guitar riffs crossed with the Cocteau Twins, maybe some Stranglers and perhaps the punkier edge of the Pixies while adding more brazen beats and bass.
Berenyi’s vocals are hard to disassociate from Lush but listen closely and the message is more driven and angry, something the singer revels in.
Between songs, the banter's engaging, but the music is doing the real talking, albeit with a twist as the last couple of tracks add an extra element of space type rock with a Can-like hypnotic sound.
It’s a good end to a symphonic set that's a tad on the short side.
Shimmering guitars, harmonies and lyrics with a hidden edge are bolstered by the band’s enjoyment in playing live and, while Piroshka may claim not to be a supergroup, the musical mastery, sweet vocals and adulatory audience mean that this showcase is suitably sublime.
Piroshka will be touring in 2019 and debut album Brickbat is due for release on February 15 via Bella Union. Twitter: piroshkaband
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