Sister Ray Selects -

Sister Ray Selects: Live Review

Walking into the legendary Windmill once again, there is an air of excitement and anticipation that differs ever so slightly from the average gig. This is likely many attendee's first show since lockdown forced everyone to close up shop, and what a way for them to celebrate their return to the club and venue circuit; tonight we are graced with no-wave/experimental duo Earlids, dream pop outfit Oslo Twins and London jazz maestros Comet Is Coming.

Drinks flow freely and there is an incessant chattering as fans eagerly await the first act of the night. Earlids, comprised of Oliver Harper and Alec Dent, carry with them the weight of Glenn Branca's The Ascension, with some Tones On Tail and early Swans thrown in for good measure. They are lost momentarily in a jungle of wires and cables, adjusting trinkets, pedals, keyboards and the like as they prepare to craft another one of their intimate soundscapes. Suddenly, a repetitive synth line ripples through the crowd, a tinny, vicious underbelly akin to a barcode scanner beep gone wild. The disjointed sounds quickly envelop The Windmill, before Dent delivers harrowing and distant intermittent vocals.

They play just three tracks, which merge seamlessly like some extended, twisted ambient work. It takes a few moments to realise that their penultimate number is a disturbing cover of Depeche Mode’s seminal ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’, the pair happy to subvert an otherwise joyful, happy-go-lucky pop staple. As Massive Attack did with their unnerving cover of ‘Man Next Door’, Earlids achieve the difficult task of truly making an original hit their own.

Next up is Oslo Twins, who just released a new music video for their most recent single, ‘The Edge’. Earlids are kind enough to help them set up, and waste no time dismantling their mechanical takeover of the stage (long gone are the days of bands deliberately leaving equipment on stage out of spite, i.e. almost every band Joy Division played with). Before long, Oslo Twins vocalist Claudia Vulliamy opens up with her cool, collected and concealed approach, the quartet’s presence not unlike the scenes depicted in their new video; a dreamlike beach setup contrasted with sudden flickers of urgent red lights. 

The Bristol band wind through their set with a restrained intensity, utilising the stage well and adopting a highly-visual stance. They are captivating in their balance; Oslo Twins are not quite shoegaze, but not wholly dream pop either; they linger between the two with expertise, leaning on the former’s oscillating and noisy tones and the latter’s atmospheric prowess as and when they need them.


By now, the crowd are suitably riled up for Comet Is Coming, the London jazz-rock band known for their critically-acclaimed 2019 sophomore effort, Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery. Their fusion of unhinged, blistering rock and noise with complex jazz is a sight (or sound) to behold; ‘King’ Shabaka Hutchings maintaining a seer-like command over the audience, taking to the centre-stage with his searing saxophone. The entire experience is an onslaught of musical mastery, notes careening off the platform and bellowed throughout the room. The groups’ grasp of tantalising jazz is executed impressively; not a moment is given to either band nor onlookers to catch one’s breath or recentre. For the uninitiated, it may come across as a wake-up call, but for the open-minded and the jazz veterans here, Comet Is Coming deliver their material with such immaculate form that it’s difficult to predict just how much further they can go, shy of actually riding said comet through space.

Words by Connor Winyard

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