By Adam Turner (@AdamTurnerPR)
Widely tipped as one of Scotland’s most up-and-coming bands, The Lafontaines were performing their first headline London gig at the Barfly last week. I decided to pop down to see what all the fuss was about. But it wasn’t this pop-rock, hip-hop, rap-savvy (more genres than you can fit in a reasonably sized record box) quintet that impressed, but the murky, haunting sounds of their Elbow/Tame Impala-esque support act, Pusher.
The grunge-ridden top floor room of the Barfly had its cobwebs well and truly blown off by the Barnsley band last Friday. Rocking up on stage at around 8pm, the South Yorkshire-based fivesome looked ready-made on first sight; dressed as well as Joy Division and as unruffled as The National – before they’d even played a song.
Fortunately, their sound was as imposing as the cut of their jib as lead singer, James Gilroy, captivated the few people in the room, his gravelly and powerful vocals carrying on a wave of psychedelic tones. Pusher sound like all the best depressingly inspiring bands like Interpol, Radiohead and The Smiths morphed with the Wild Beasts and Grizzly Bear.
The band’s stage presence was subtle, professional and utterly faultless as they zipped through the seven-song set list – most noteworthy being their evocative single, ‘Here She Comes’. It starts with a whisper of “There’s a demon lurking inside of your head,” from Gilroy, who sounds like a blend of Richard Hawley, Alex Turner and Matt Berninger, but spirals into a perilous tale of persistent drink-fuelled anxiety. It’s clear these guys are talented musicians with a brawny leader in Gilroy.
Pusher are as poetic as Morrissey, as psychedelic as Beach House yet as entrancing and mysterious as Arcade Fire. By the end of the night they had me walking through the shadowy alleys of my mind.