Pinkshinyultrablast brought their brand of nu-gaze/shoe-gaze, which I would like to suggest re-branding as glitter-gaze, from St.Petersburg, Russia, to the Temple room of Birmingham Institute and a modest but adoring crowd.
Fever Dream had earlier built things up nicely with their own take on loosely the same genre, a set which grew in confidence and had echoes of Whirr, as well as the more obvious old-school influences of My Bloody Valentine and Spacemen 3. Definitely a band worth listening out for.
However, it was the Russian five-piece who stole the show, their original moniker being the perfect name for this band, as it somehow captures their essence in one (long) word. Taking to the stage with little fanfare and beginning with ‘H&H’, which is presumably from their next album, (due February 2016), it soon became apparent that Pinkshinyultrablast are an impressively tight unit, singer Lyubov handling all the vocal duties and handling them very well indeed. The band conjured up layers of sound, in turn delicate and ferocious, the sound gradually cranking up higher and higher throughout their set.
Another new song, ‘Tropical’ leads into their ‘radio hit’, ‘Umi’, beloved of 6Music and certainly beloved of everyone here. It is a fabulous song that has probably been Number 1 for eight weeks in a parallel universe somewhere. Considering the volume coming from the stage, the sound mix was brilliantly sympathetic, with the most delicate touches from synth/electronics wizard Rustam perfectly audible above the loudly shimmering guitars of Roman, and the superb rhythm section of Igor and Sergey, on drums and bass respectively.
Lyubov has drawn comparisons with Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser, and there are certainly similarities, as much in their approach as their sound; Lyubov seems in a world entirely of her own, almost oblivious to the crowd, but in a shy rather than an arrogant way. She doesn’t say a word all evening, save for a brief ‘thank you’ at the end, and she is generally side-on to the audience. Her work is done, though, in delivering those other-worldly vocals, which to me have a foot in the camps of Seefeel or Earwig as much as the Cocteaus.
After ‘Killersong’ and ‘Yes’ have weaved their magical way around the room, old song ‘Blaster’ (from their 2009 EP Happy Songs For Happy Zombies) makes a welcome appearance. The mesmerising 45-minute set is completed with perhaps Pinkshinyultrablast’s most commercial song, ‘Holy Forest’, from their excellent debut Everything Else Matters, is an absolutely mighty rendition of the song, the sound by now reaching almost MBV levels of volume. There was a real feeling in the audience at the end that something magical had been witnessed, and that surely Pinkshinyultrablast can only grow in stature and popularity from hereon in.