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Friday, September 6, 2013

Describing themselves as ‘gaze hop dream pop,’ openers Flower Drums set the tone for an evening of dreamlike, blissed-out tunes at Capitol. With an endearing oddball at the mic and bare feet all round, this four piece encapsulate a hippie aesthetic that is neither contrived nor ironic – a rare feat to pull off in a scene stagnant with both.While clearly ahead of their time, Flower Drums evoke a rosy-tinged nostalgia that perfectly suits their musical ambiguity; they flirt with both ends of the contemporary spectrum, resulting in multi-layered, innovative pop that is at once uplifting and melancholic. As even the bar staff shimmied along to glorious final track White Waves, my suspicions were cemented – these guys are destined for greatness.

Electronic duo Fishing cut somewhat lonely figures on stage, but a fleshed out crowd spoke volumes of their popularity. The Sydneysiders have created a storm of hype with their beat-driven fusion of reggaeton and trip-hop, masterfully blending danceable tunes with moodier, emotive tracks. Ear-to-ear grins and uncontained exuberance characterized their set – but as they found themselves facing an unusually sedate audience, we were issued with a grave warning: ‘Yo, just to let you know, Snakadaktal are like, really mean. So if you guys aren’t right up the front, things will get fucked up…like, there will be blood.’ Warning heeded, punters flocked to the front and danced with abandon, finding their reward in a mashed up remix of TLC classic Waterfalls.

As triple j darlings Snakadaktal made their grand entrance, the room was packed close and buzzing like a beehive. With sublime harmonics, stop-start drumming and smooth bass lines characterizing their multi-faceted indie pop, it was refreshing to see a young band so unaffected by success – thus far, anyway. The baby-faced five piece have been on the up since their discovery in 2011, but there wasn’t an ego in sight as frontwoman Phoebe bashfully said her hellos. Blessed with a rich, powerful voice, she took a backseat to guitarist Sean on latest single Hung On Tight – hyped as a ‘bigger, more expansive’ effort for the band, it also showcases the latter’s own stunning vocals. While boy/girl harmonies are nothing new in today’s musical landscape, Phoebe and Sean make a tired tactic feel fresh and exciting again; their dual voices complement, rather than contrast.

Much to the crowd’s delight, breakout hit Air was revisited next – a newfound sensuality creeping into its catchy, sing-along sweetness. In fact, with the release of long-awaited debut LP Sleep In The Water, they’ve achieved something many bands haven’t: growth. Standout tracks like the starkly sexy Ghost and more upbeat Feel The Ocean drew punters in, while old favourites Chimera and Dance Bear kept longtime fans happy. With a diverse, eclectic repertoire to suite a range of tastes, my one tip to new listeners would be this: if you’re headed for a rowdy night out, stick to similarly rowdy tunes. Snakadaktal occupy a quieter space; a Sunday afternoon, some fruity ciders and a soft patch of grass are the perfect accompaniment.

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