Dexters at Islington Assembly Hall
In a venue famously used for weddings, the majority of Friday night’s crowd were family and friends of the East London-bred Dexters, turning the night into a celebratory occasion with plenty of support for a band whose mission is to reach the heady heights of rock stardom. Unfortunately, the praise was undeserved. The performance wasn’t a good indication of their potential – it was a largely forgettable and unlistenable mess, despite the band’s energy and eagerness.
Dexters claim that their music reflects how difficult life can be in East London, which you’d think would encourage an interesting melancholic and gritty lyrical substance, but the lyrics were indistinguishable or tame, consumed by a wall of noise that lacked individuality and substance. Their songs were dull and undifferentiated from one another, intermixed with distracting verbal and gestural swearing that embraced a stereotypical and unnecessary rock attitude.
It is obvious that their music aims to achieve a cross between the youthful wildness of early Arctic Monkeys and Morrissey’s tremulous baritone style, but they are currently trying too hard to emulate an aesthetic, rather than their heroes’ conceptual brilliance, and the result smells of Battle of the Bands amateurism. Whilst lead singer Tom Rowlett is good at impersonating Damon Albarn on appearance, he lacks his likeable voice and chilled persona, especially when he pointlessly practises his air guitar.
It was a shame they disregarded their debut album Shimmer Gold in favour of performing a fresh set of confusing and hazy songs that paled in comparison. The record created genuine buzz because it was comprised of friendly and catchy rock compositions with clarity and texture that embraced the use of harmonicas and trumpets, while also being simple enough to have radio airplay on indie stations.
Rowlett rhythmically tapped his chest throughout the set, suggesting the music came from the heart and that perhaps in future we might see the band’s unique soul, rather than their wannabe exterior.
Matt Taylor Hobbs
Photo: Robbie Muir
For further information about Dexters and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Recover here: