Hurtling, JunoDef, Stephen Evens - The Islington, London, 17/10/2019

Hurtling, JunoDef, Stephen Evens – The Islington, London, 17/10/2019

If indeed it’s the geek rather than the meek that shall inherit the earth, then Hurtling are due a bit of a payout.

Don’t get us wrong, the band are dripping in cool, but it’s an inadvertent variety that comes from not giving too much of a shit what anyone thinks.

For a start, the South London trio are wonderfully un-styled. Singer and guitarist Jen Macro looks like she’s dressed to nip out to the shops for a pint of milk rather than perform at a sold out album launch, although we wouldn’t be surprised if her angular hairstyle became an accidental fashion trend all in itself.

Bespectacled bassist Simon Kobayashi, meanwhile, sports a jacket and t-shirt combo that has dress down Friday written all over it, while drummer John Clayton is all straggly heavy metal hair, bobbing in time to his nonchalantly metronomic timekeeping.

So, that’s the somewhat unconventional but undeniable style. What, then, about the content? Well, considering Jen Marco’s links with My Bloody Valentine – she’s been part of the band’s live setup for some years now – this is distinctly un-dreamy, non-shoegazy musical vision. For starters Marco’s guitar seems to swerve the effects boxes for most if not quite the whole time, opting instead for a rawer, scratchier sound that clocks in somewhere between Hendrix in strum mode and Thurston Moore‘s more intricate chord work.

Together with the thick bass tones – Kobayashi appears to be playing at least three of his four strings at any given time – the results are distinctly edgy, not quite angry but certainly brimming with tension and frustration.

The band are here to launch their debut LP Future From Here and they rise to the challenge in literal terms, performing its 10 tracks in album order, from opening track ‘Start’ to the rousing ‘Call To Arms’.

There’s a touch of hesitancy in their delivery at first, as they find their sonic feet. But by the time of track four, recent single ‘Summer’, they begin to hit their stride, dispatching the song with an extra layer of ferociousness and giving it an elongated crescendo of an ending that brings Sonic Youth‘s freakout heights to mind. Their sound touches on grunge, but also the sideways angles of Pavement and The Breeders and the spontaneous, emotionally melancholy edge of Neil Young too. The songs shift unexpectedly here and there, the strange arrangements suddenly coming into sharp focus for a chorus or a hook, Marco’s strong vocals very much soaring above the mix rather than burying themselves inside it.

All in all, it’s an impressive showing that means the band definitely earn their slices of the impressive triple layered Hurtling cake that’s perched on the merchandise stall. Add two great support sets to the evening, one from the assured sounding, distorted guitar-driven three piece Juno Def, the other from the superbly eccentric Stephen Evens, accompanied only by a Casiotone keyboard and a daft sense of humour, and this turns into quite a party.

The signs are good for Hurtling. If they are hurtling towards anything, it’s success. Piece of cake? They make it seem that way.

Image Paul Maps

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.