Post War Glamour Girls play Cambridge – Review

live reviews Band bring new album to The Portland

Tuesday Night, it’s Tuesday night, on a Tuesday night! Lead singer James Smith liked to observe what day it was after most songs, seeming appreciative of the opportunity for an early mid-week party. Here’s a band that really enjoy being on stage and playing their music.

So they should, they have an awesome new album to showcase, which the night’s set was almost exclusively dedicated to. They have plenty of striking tracks from 3 previous albums (in as many years), but what was played from their new one shows how distinguished they are now.

Sticking to the tracklist at first, they swayed their way through 4 interesting and diverse songs. Smith was shaking his head in a blur reminiscent of Thee Oh See’s John Dwyer. It’s always cool to hear a UK band nailing garage as well as America’s west coast can, and they’re also fresh by not relying overly on psych fillers. There were some excellent Joe Meek style synthetic sounds, but they mostly opted towards gnarly feedback to provide extra layers of warping noise. They know how to play it as if it were just another instrument.

Effortlessly playing such good music they continued to have fun with the crowd and each other on stage. A particularly entertaining point was when guitarist James Thorpe decided to walk off just ahead of a song to the amusement of his bandmates. ‘He’s only done that to look cool and walk back on in time for his solo. You ever seen that Bon Jovi video? Yeah, he’s trying to do that’. And yep, sure enough midway through the song he strolled on, picked up his guitar and smoothly joined in. It wasn’t quite in the posturing of an 80s hair band, but he did look pretty cool. Even against his comrades ribbing and giggling.

Really feeling the music, the band concentrated on nailing the songs by getting lost in their rhythm, striding wide and nodding enthusiastically. The singer meanwhile chose to spend most of his time within the crowd. It was the addition of touring member Rob that allowed him more freedom to move around without having to concentrate on extra guitar parts. It meant there was real passion and authenticity behind his performance.

With this extra touring member, the set also sounded satisfyingly big and loud. He was great for subtler moments too, for example one of the standout moments of the set was ‘Golden Time’ where he and the drummer shared great tambourine harmony. They each closed their eyes and shook with perfect synchronicity, practically mirror like. The tambourines were leading the song rather than providing a spare percussive element and it was really audibly pleasing.

They have many big memorable songs from the new album, ‘Big Trip’ and ‘Pollyanna Cowgirl’ are particularly banging. But we were also treated to ‘Sestra’ from the first album. This was the encore song, and one hell of a finish. All big drums, duel vocals, heavy themes and great delivery.

Words from Ellie Clarke

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