Ejector Seat - Lennons - November 2005

Leisure + Birdpen + Tired Irie

by PH

Tuesdays are always going to be a difficult night to get really busy. Tonight isn’t doing too badly, though, and Lennons, although far from heaving, has a certain buzz to it. Leisure are mid-song as I enter the club. The first thing I notice is the drums. Snappy and precise they provide technical support to the guitar and vocal that is being played out over the top of them. And believe me, it’s needed. As a two piece, Leisure make a good amount of noise. It is, however, essentially directionless noise. The distorted rhythm of the guitar is messy and the songs seem to lack any sense of formulated structuring – at points, neither the guitarist/vocalist nor the drummer seem to know what comes next. They try to keep the music flowing between songs but, as none of the songs have anything about them that really grabs you, it all ends up as one big long mess. Birdpen are also a two-piece act. There, thankfully, the similarities with Leisure end. The nature of their music requires them to be perfectly in tune not only with each other but with the various pieces of backing music they use to create their sound. One vocalist and both play guitar, so all the drums, bass and assorted backing noises come from a selection of electronic devices. Their songs are consummately constructed – not a word, beat or guitar phrase is produced that isn’t in its rightful place. But it works and it works well, not least because the singer’s voice is superb. Strong, versatile and with a unique edge to it. Birdpen’s sound works extremely well on record and they certainly cut it live, but I can’t help thinking that they would have just a little bit more live impact if they had ‘real’ drums and bass accompanying them. It’s just a little too over-produced; a bit too perfect. Tired Irie finish the night off with a mixed and slightly confusing set. As a five piece, and in contrast to the other two bands, they fill up the stage and bring an enthusiasm and presence you suddenly realise was lacking from the other two. They seem intent, however, on trying out every style of music they can think of – sometimes within the same song. It’s a confusing mix of…well, pretty much everything really. There’s everything from indie-rock to really heavy, almost goth metal. They just about manage to pull off each musical excursion but it means they lack any real flow or identity. Moreover, the lead vocal doesn’t seem to suit any of their ‘styles’ in particular - it’s just there for all of them but excelling at none of them. In the second half of their set they settle down a bit more and manage to find their flow with a sound that suits them. And finally I realise that, yes, they do make decent, well put together music. I just wish they had done that in the first place.