Saturday 9th March 2013

Conquering Animal Sound, Pumajaw, Plum


The room is packed even before our first act. Fresh from her triumph last night at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards, Plum makes it instantly clear why she deserved to win.

A multi-instrumentalist, she accompanies herself with guitar, bass and programmed beats. Things begin softly, with multi-tracked vocals, almost singer-songwriter in nature.

Soon, however, threatening disco stalks through the room. Then glitchy electro. Then fractured dubstep Skrillex would kill for. In matching her clear vocals with epic electronic beats, she creates a sound that is at once dirty, brutal, uncompromising but always soulful. Coupled with an endearing and charismatic stage presence, she is an utter joy to watch. Totally superb.



The guitar chimes like a grandfather clock, as vocals – squeals, howls, squeaks and wails – echo like a ghost in the walls. The music feels like it clings and drips from the walls like a spectre. At times it feels like a haunted house ride. Atmospheric and creepy.

The crowd pulsate to the beats. She sings with an echo-laden vibrato reminiscent of 60s ballads. It adds to the eerie sense of anticipation. In the midst of stomping electro beats, she plays a squeezebox that sounds like a long-dead soldier pacing a forgotten battlefield.

Making serious in-roads in Europe with their experimental electronica, they elicit yelps of excitement from the crowd tonight. Not surprising, given the magnetic theatricality of their performance.


Conquering Animal Sound

Within the first bar, the crowd is transfixed. Anneke stares intently over the room, emoting lyrics over blips, rumbles, clicks, and arpeggios from James. Phrases disregard bar lines. Words are compressed and stretched like playdoe. Vowels follow sometime after consonants. It looks as though she has to conjure every sound from her whole body. It makes for an inimitable and beguiling style.

It is totally in keeping with the whole approach for the songs which seam to revel in the sheer joy of noise-making and invention. Indeed, lyrics as well as melodies are multi-tracked, cut and pasted over each other.

Meanwhile, programmed loops are supplemented by bass and other sounds that are fed in through a mic. Soundscapes open up below like the audience are being thrown over a chordal cliff. Many songs tonight are from their album to be released next week, which if tonight is anything to go by, should do very well indeed. They leave the stage with the crowd wanting more.

It’s great to see so many Limbo alumni in the audience – Hayley Beavis, Night Noise Team, Collar Up, Eagle Owl, Dead Boy Robotics. Plum for one is delighted with the lineup tonight, a perfect cross-section of the vanguard of Scottish female-fronted electronica. Never just three bands playing. Limbo is curated with care, presented with pride.

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