Bless the music

Oxford, 2010: there’s something in the air. And it could be catching.

It's as if a rowing team sized group of aspiring artists have gone out, bought a crumbling studio and filled it with all manner of vintage electronics, because like magic, a dozen really interesting bands have come speeding out of Morse land in recent months. They have even imbued themsevles with a collective title – Blessing Force – which has been executed with the typical dexterity of an Oxford compadre.

Pet Moon is one such by-product (admittedly, the link to rowing here is tenuous). Pseudonym of Andrew Myers, former member of Youthmovies - alumus of the scene and sadly no more. Here lies the poster boy for the particular subsection of Oxford 80s-tinged indie electronica.

The set may have started out wobbly, but quickly veered off into ballsy and introspectively intense territory. Myers has a soaringly sweet voice that falls somewhere between Prince and Roland Orzabak, and he owned the stage on the merits of charisma alone. His crutch was this: two wingmen flanked by suitcases housing all manner of computer wizardry, all the while pumping out pounding basslines.

Flitting between ambient, experimental synth-pop, strumming balladeering and pleading vocals, the only common denominator throughout was Myers’ severe delivery. Leaping off stage and pinballing around the crowd was an unexpected, if a little hammy, stocking filler. But I guess that’s what happens when you seemingly live, breathe and bleed your craft.

Trophy Wife are a three-piece, hotly-tipped act who were last night launching their new single 'Microlite'. They employ a system of a pulsing funk-trance hybrid foundation jarred with neatly plucked guitars – a sound lifted heavily from the Oxford-scene blueprint of Foals (headline act in Trophy Wife’s recent tour).

'Microlite' begins with serene keyboards and soft drumming, and much like their support act, the vocal style is effeminate and earnest, lyrics begging “I hope you know the way”. Their set is fluid, and consists of songs that are non sequential and climatic, and an accompaniment of pattering drums reinforces the fluidity. Culminating in an unexpected cover of Joanna Newsom’s 'The Book of Right-On', the evening ends on an inspiring high.

Tonight showcased a scene that is gradually being cottoned on to by industry bods. With Jonquil, Chad Valley, Neon Pulse and, of course, Foals providing worthy counterparts, this stream of intelligent indie slash electronica is making welcome waves in the music world.

Words by Natalie Hardwick
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