Swiss Lips at Queen of Hoxton
Hailing from the musical mecca of Manchester, Swiss Lips beget a fresh formula of dance-floor-cool, tapping sources both old and new, with exciting results.
Grabbing attention, first single DANZ swayed the Thursday night audience into a mesmerised lull. Fuzzed synths and head-voice vocals ricocheted the room back from a mumbling drinking joint to a Hacienda showcase.
Behind the roaring keyboard sounds and relentless drum loops, frontman Sam Hammond brought an endearing ungainliness to proceedings. Bedecked with black cap, gold chain and long sleeves, the young singer looked and moved like a hip-hop Ian Curtis, back to the audience, eyes closed, constantly looking for something that wasn’t there, a coy confidence that slowly evolved as the show unfolded and the number of heads bobbing increased. “We’re surprised so many people showed up,” and he meant it.
The ongoing musical resurgence of the 80s is unavoidably present in almost all new bands, however, Swiss Lips manage to keep an editing edge to their songs. Books (a track that wouldn’t seem out of place in a Tears for Fears setlist) showcases the band’s unique sound, striking a balance between catchy and vacuous, utilising vocal delays and a healthy helping of kick drum sashay.
The band graced the audience with the premiere of Forever, an endeavour that “could be terrible”– a self doubt that proved immaterial as the smooth, Duran Duran-esque track was met with abundant applause.
In charge of guitar, B.V’s and electronic drums, Luke Daniel propelled a Frank Ocean cover of Lost with an easy seamlessness, pinpointing the band’s ability to adapt whilst maintaining a signature sound and flavour: Hammond’s warming vocals showed glimpses of a more soulful side.
In terms of performance, Carolyn was the show’s highlight. Written for the frontman’s 90-year-old friend, who would “probably hate it”, this song has single glittered all over – New Order meets Gwen Stefani in a plethora of pop and funk.
Single U GOT THE POWER and Cheetah closed the show, with the latter bringing the band’s long-haired music video star onstage to accompany the boys with some expressive and delightfully heart-felt dance moves; a bizarre and captivating end to the night.
Swiss Lips have an ethereal self-deprecation that stops them slipping into the synth-heavy whitewash, aloof but not arrogant, unsure yet driven; this band can go as far as they want to.
Photos: Adam Imiolo
For further information and future events visit Swiss Lips’ website here.
Watch the video for Danz here: