Parts & Labor, An Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump @ Cargo
Parts & Labor, An Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump.
Shoreditch Cargo. 19feb09.
Named after Joseph Wright’s 1768 painting, An Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump are an East London trio (roll call: C-Bird, X-Bird and D-Bird) operating on tribal caustics and supple drone, vocally oscillating between gothic horror and gospel soul. Their opener has the twitch of Nutbush City Limits about it, albeit filtered through a Jesus & Mary Chain shaped gauze.
Their sound is created largely by voice, bass guitar and two drums alone, whilst the division of labour is broken by their rotating amongst the roles. Considering the stodginess of their sound, it is the different vocal styles that provide the colour, one of them sounding like a gutter-stalking Tina Turner, another ploughing the mid-furrow twixt those dug by PJ Harvey and David Thomas. They keep their set to an impactfully brusque fifteen minutes and leave with the notion that they have the potential to become something very special indeed hanging as an ellipsis over the back of the now empty stage.
Parts & Labor are a much more elaborate proposition. Pedals, switches and synths are manipulated amongst the traditional guitar, bass and drums set-up in the wind rush of their emphatic, puffed-chest experimental rock. Dan Friel’s vocals recall stadium prog, whilst B.J. Warshaw’s come from a spikier place. Sarah Lipstate’s takes a relative back-seat compared to Friel’s plinth-shaking judder and Warshaw’s flailing, bass-flinging arms.
The understated hero of the foursome though is perhaps drummer Joe Wong, who keeps things elastically tight, never a catatonic hammer, always a rippling catalyst. Parts & Labor’s brash music is athletic and never seeks to trade in its vim for an unnecessary change of pace to show their range. What they do is create anthems for people who don’t like waving lighters, but who like waving, and challenging, themselves.
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