The silence is cavernous. A month of tumbling music has just come to a sated stop. The Hics have just left the stage at Hackney’s most celebrated of new venues, Oslo, and we are left now with just a tangle of memories. Only the crushed cans on the floor remain, ironically stoical.
In the weeks leading to this point we’ve been exulted by a pack of new talents that Clash predicted for great things in 2014, meaning the waves of promise from Rosie Lowe, Andrew Ashong, Kyan, George Barnett and Indiana have washed over our ears and eyes.
But tonight we’re here for the splendour of a calm posse of music makers. Named after the hickory wood used to craft drumsticks, London’s The Hics belie their alchemical work in the field of electronics. Closer in sound to a warped Radiohead album than any backwater acoustic hoedowns, this Pimlico six-piece dispatch Clash’s Next Wave residency with confident understatement.
Toying with slow crescendos as cats flirt with frogs, The Hics build a layered sound of electronics that duel with live guitars, bass and splashes of saxophone. Geordan Reid-Campbell’s melancholic guitar swells, traversing a thousand post-rocked teardrops to form an ephemeral narrative that’s refreshingly juxtaposed with bright flashes of brass. The hushed vocal interplay of Roxane and Sam push and tug us along a laconic path that’s refreshingly unforced. They occupy their own, fresh space.
Closer ‘Lines’ shows epic promise. Reversed audio and slick synths form a bed from which the band deploys a soulful jaunt, with snatches of funk creeping in. You can feel the band’s palpable excitement about this song, The Hics’ most quivering of sonic arrows. And thanks to such an assured headline set we can comfortably predict that they remain on target for a bull’s-eye of public acclaim.
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Words: Matthew Bennett
Photos: Carys Lavin (website)