LIVE: Girls in Synthesis – The Face Bar, Reading, 24/02/2022

LIVE: Girls in Synthesis – The Face Bar, Reading, 24/02/2022

We Might Not Make Tomorrow.

On a day such as today, being the day that the Russian Army walked into Chernobyl and started shooting – what could possibly go wrong? – there could not be a more appropriate band to be watching than Girls in Synthesis.

Formed in London in late 2016, this is a band that has always explored the darker side of the human experience, calling out injustice, oppression and media manipulation.  They are also a very serious group of individuals.  Judging by their social media posts, there is not a single colour photo of them in existence.

Obviously, we all rather hope that nuclear annihilation doesn’t happen tonight, but if it does, then at least have the right soundtrack for it.

One thing quickly becomes clear – if we are going to die tonight, we sure as hell won’t hear it coming.  Set opener ‘Watch With Mother’ is phenomenally loud.  Well, we won’t need our hearing if we’re all going to be dead.

Drummer Nicole Pinto hits the skins phenomenally hard, and her snare doesn’t even make it past the third song before it breaks, resulting in a hasty request for a loaner from the support band.  Judging by how expertly she manages to swap the new one in during the breakdown in ‘Pulling Teeth’, one suspects that she might have had to do this before.

Whilst the equipment may have had a hard time, there are no signs of rustiness from the band on this, the first stop on an eight-date UK tour.  Singer/bassist John Linger is right in the zone, stamping his foot fiercely as he plays, part angry, part anguished.  Guitarist Jim Cubitt just about has the building shaking with the riffs on ‘Human Frailty’. They don’t smile, they don’t chat – they even leave the feedback going between songs so there isn’t really even a gap for applause.  This is pure intensity.

Of course they play ‘We Might Not Make Tomorrow’, a brilliantly dark cut from their early EPs.  It is the only song tonight that they introduce.  “This song is about World War III – which is very close,” says Linger.  The despairing chorus can rarely have sounded finer, or felt more appropriate.

The band have introduced an electronic edge to their traditional punk/post-punk sound on recent releases, and we see that in abundance tonight, notably on latest single ‘Enveloped’.  Linger’s doomy bass sound is just wonderful here, and this is possibly the band’s best song to date.

There are a couple of brand new songs on the setlist too, and these also point to an exciting future, particularly ‘Screaming’, which is supremely catchy.

It looks like their next release is something that is going to be worth staying alive for.  Maybe they could send an advance copy to Putin.

They close with the ever-popular ‘The Mound’, and then they are gone.  A quite brilliant performance tonight.

I briefly think I am seeing signs of nuclear apocalypse on the M4 on the way home, but it turns out to just be roadworks. Well, that’s good. I guess.

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.