New Build at Concrete
Fresh from their tour of west coast America, electro-pop group New Build played their first gig back in the UK at Concrete on 23rd July. Well, if there were a more apt name for a venue they could play at, you’d probably be hard-pressed to find it.
They started off the set with a good sense of pace, launching into Mercy. Its dissonant edge was created by an increasingly cluttered variety of sounds that didn’t quite run smoothly with one other, but worked well to create an interesting song and a strong opener.
However, Al Doyle’s vocals are pretty average and generic. Do You Not Feel Loved illustrated that when the band moves away from the unconventional they end up with a very standard sound. The clean-synth hits and go-to electro vocals aren’t bad but quickly become repetitive, leaving you feeling as though you’ve heard that same song dozens of times before and reminiscent of Simply Red a decade and a half too late.
On the other hand, their drum lines and percussion was a huge advance on the standard fare. There was a good blend of traditional electronic and studio kits, with a nice overtone of African and Caribbean-style percussion that really gave the set a giant boost of dynamism. More acts could benefit from following New Build’s example of breaking away from the all-too-common, repetitive drum loop. It was very telling that every time the drummer mixed things up slightly the crowd would cheer.
Technical difficulties interrupted the set twice and gave it a vaguely fragmented feel overall, but the band picked up where they left off without a problem. It was good to see that their momentum wasn’t interrupted too easily by unforeseen problems.
New Build demonstrated their ability to put forward an interesting sound in a genre that can often be very formulaic and similar. They clearly don’t mind bringing something a bit different to the table by mixing elements of other sounds and genres into their music, but this also demonstrated how common they sound when they don’t. As an iteration of the electro-pop genre, they show what can happen when you move away from the simplistic and the tried and true. The crowd definitely appreciated such innovation and their set was more interesting because of it.
Photos: Sara Michele
For further information and future events visit New Build’s website here.
Watch the video for Finding Reasons here: