MEWN

4 January
Wilderness Record Store

With the enjoyable excesses of the recent festivities disappearing into a different decade, the audience willing to sample the potential sounds of the future have itchy feet, but the Wilderness Record Store continues to actively provide a platform to give them a good scratch.

There is now more space at the side of the store after a recent knock-through, but amongst the beer fridges, espresso machine and racks of vinyl, it is a still a very intimate venue. It will also feature as part of the upcoming Independent Venue Week events.

"I will belong to you," Chris Lyttle sang to no-one in particular, but everyone in general. It's relayed in a haunting, possibly threatening manner. Picking notes on a Gibson guitar, the only other instrument he used was his rich, sonorous voice, which could be a mixture of Johnny Cash or Richard Hawley. Maybe he was simply auditioning for a musical contribution to a Sergio Leone soundtrack of a western movie.

The second band of this free event, MEWN, are a quintet that could have easily filled Version 1.0 of Wilderness Record Store with their kit alone. Now, there is a bit of space to allow a drum kit, stacked keyboards, a set of pedals for a guitarist and a couple of microphone stands to reside. All for the better.

The basic set-up should not allow for lazy assumptions about acts that perform with so much technology lacking in ability and hiding behind processors. That myth was comprehensively dismissed when MEWN kicked into life. Having been together for a few years now, MEWN have focused on developing their repertoire and then performing live rather than using live performances as a testing ground. And the hard work showed.

MEWN created a deliberate and rich palette, sometimes it was via the keyboards, played by Matt Protz, which still allowed the subtlety of Rachel Bell's guitar work to shine through. Other times it was the steady pulse of Daniel Cowman's drumming. There are few spaces between the notes; a picked bass line here, a lick of guitar there.

"Please tell me what happens next?" sang bassist Daniel Bluer. Well, you garner a loyal fan base, get great reviews, such as the one by Lyndon Higginson, venue owner, who said, "This band will blow you away."

Ged Camera