Seven Summits, Window Seats, Morning Claws
It's a fast-paced world we live in these days, and we ain't got time to sit back and take everything in, y'hear? In the olden days, it was all about the album, but these days, it's all about the one killer song, getting it stuck in the mind of your audience, and making the most of it. All three bands on the bill tonight have recently released singles, and it quickly becomes clear that tonight is a battleground, with melody and accessibility fighting it out on the front-lines of pop.
Morning Claws are relative newcomers to the local circuit, and showing that there is frequently strength in numbers, they push each of their five members to the edge of their capabilities, a wonderful texture of vocals, synths, and drums, topped off with soaring guitar which ties everything together.
If one were to find a downside, it is that several of the songs develop into extended codas, sacrificing their immediate pop sensibility for something seemingly more epic, and losing a little in the translation. This is particularly apparent in single 'Slack Magic', an elegiac number that rises and falls beautifully, but has little in the way of immediate pop thrills. As part of a live set, it's a beautiful bit of ebb and flow, but in its own right, it lacks the immediacy to make in impression. No matter; Morning Claws have more than enough delights up their collective sleeves to go the distance.
Window Seats make a confident return to Belfast after almost a year's absence, unleashing their finely tuned brand of melodic 90s indie rock to an appreciative crowd. Recent single offering, 'Rat', stands head and shoulders above the rest of the set, possessing an effervescent guitar and bass melody that really causes the audience to pay attention, perhaps pointing the way forward for this band of indie-rock adventurers.
And then Seven Summits emerge to share their latest creation with us. By this point, Seven Summits have settled into the role of one of Belfast's most confident and accomplished bands, masters of arrangement and songcraft, and 'Sooner or Later' is a perfect showcase of this, a perfectly put together slice of pop.
Where the band stumble, however, is in their ability to push themselves into the hearts of their audience. Seven Summits make great music, and they know it. And as a result, they frequently seem content to preach to the converted, unable or unwilling to really reach out and win over any sceptics. This could harm them in the long run, with any future gems falling on deaf ears, but for the moment, this underrated band are just getting on with the business of making great music, and then working out how to make it even greater.
So, three singles, three different approaches, and three different futures. Life might be more fast paced these days, but when it sounds this good, it's hard to feel too sad.