Two Wounded Birds at Queen of Hoxton
Two Wounded Birds brought their brand of 50s surf rock to sunny London’s Queen of Hoxton last night. This Margate four-piece noticeably wear their influences on their sleeves, whilst you could also argue that they are even encouragingly inspired by their seaside surroundings. With the band boasting the backing of The Drums’ Jacob Graham and his label, Holiday Friends Recordings, along with comparisons to The Beach Boys and Brian Wilson’s seal of approval, you might get the impression you know what to expect from this Kent quartet. Whilst there is some obvious truth to this, there is a bucket-load more to this band than you may have predicted.
It was Death by Sexy that opened up proceedings, playing what they describe as drug pop. It’s pretty spot on. This all-girl band from London, fronted by LA singer Jimmy Sweet’s strong baritone vocal, delivered songs that are instinctively dark with sleazy edges (I’m Sick), the kind in the vein of your Black Rebel Motorcycle Clubs, but with intent for big guitar sounds like The Black Keys and The White Stripes (the gospel rock-esque track Death Is Not The End). Coming Up, Coming Down closed what was a strong, filthy set. Keep an eye on these.
Holy Esque followed, and showed why they have supported the likes of Wu Lyf and their EP has been well received by NME and Drowned in Sound(amongst others). Echoing guitars and The National-style drumming made for a compelling set from start to finish. The standout track, Rose, was both intimate and epic, and is worth seeing live. The Glaswegians did their mounting reputation no harm here.
Two Wounded Birds opened with the slightly frantic and brisk Daddy’s Junk, a song absorbed with a tinge of rockabilly that made you understand why front-man Johnny Danger had the word emblazoned upon the back of his leather jacket. My Lonesome was a dreamier, more relaxed effort, with Danger providing a croon Richard Hawley would be proud of. Cries of “Feeling so tender…it’s hard to remember…the child in me,” followed on-to the desirable If Only We Remain. To Be Young, a set highlight, is an utterly gorgeous summer tune better suited to festival stages rather than the Queen of Hoxton’s dark basement.
It’s Not Up To You threw pop hooks left, right and centre, tailed by the mysteriously twisted Night Patrol, in which the strikingly attractive Ally Blackgrove delivers some ominous bass that faintly appears like a Favourite Worst Nightmare outtake. You’d be hard pressed to try and pinpoint how the foursome will sound one song from the next, but Two Wounded Birds are undoubtedly better off for it.
The catchy-as-hell penultimate track Together Forever and the refreshingly abrupt closer All We Wanna Do best showcase those anticipated surf vibes of theirs. There’s a basic ruthlessness, a Ramones feel to these tracks, giving this band yet another dimension.
Two Wounded Birds will, more often than not, be placed in the ‘surf’ category, but this short set was mixed with intelligent layers of indie guitar, Phil Spector-style harmonies and expertly crafted melodies, making this exhilaratingly impressive band a more exciting prospect than their counterparts.
In To Be Young, Danger implies that Two Wounded Birds are “young and hopeless”. Young they are. Hopeless they are not. These wounded birds are in pretty healthy shape, and with their debut, self-titled LP out on 24th June 24, it’s maybe only a matter of time before they take off.