CHAPEL CLUB @ THE DEAF INSTITUTE MANCHESTER - 11.2.10

Lofty expectations have killed many a band and for Chapel Club these expectations must be a heavy burden to bare. With a handful of gigs under their belt rumours spread around the country they'd signed to Universal Records for the sort of figures that were last seen in the pre-download age, but it wasn’t just that, the initial demos which went out across the blogosphere had all the indications that Chapel Club could just become one of THOSE bands.

Hitting Manchester as part of a small UK tour, their first dates outside the capital, it easy to be taken in by the hype. Frontman Lewis Bowman is a slight figure on stage, a slip of a man who barely moves throughout tonight’s show apart from arched eyebrows and knowing looks out at the audience. His minimalism is flanked by Michael Hibbert and Alex Parry on guitars who are born out of the Bernard Butler school of guitar playing both musically and in terms of their absolute desire to out manoeuvre the frontman of the band.

Heavily indebted to the Smiths and more recently the commercial doom laden guitar pop of Editors before they discovered synth pop, there's a massive shoegaze influence threading the whole sound together. Walls and walls of effects laden guitars are heaped upon the likes "Machine Music" while recent single "Oh Maybe I" is actually the anomaly in the collection eschewing layered textures for something altogether more simplistic and melodic. "Surfacing" is essentially a reworking of Dream A Little Dream seen through the eyes of the darker moments of Depeche Mode whilst"All The Eastern Girls" hits the mark with military precision building up slowly to a massive stadium sized crescendo.

Chapel Club are a band that perfectly sum up these times - optimism and hope crashing together with a dark deafening reality. Although nowthing new they're certainly more than this years White Lies and for younger bed-sit merchants they could be one of those bands that saves lives...

Alex McCann


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