Difficult second album? hardly if their album launch/gig was anything to go by at the Zen Bar the other night.
The band, with an enviable pedigree, their list of previous bands is a who’s who of the city’s good and great in the local music scene over the past 30 years…or so, and, whilst Anonymous by nature, keen-eyed, regular gig goers would recognise the band members from some of Cardiff’s finest groups including The Mummies, Glee Club, Heavy Quartet, Dansette and The Five Darrens, to name but a few.
Yet the evening almost began with a disaster as the lead singer Steve found he’d left the CD’s for the launch at home and following a mad dash to recover, finally made his way back just in time to hit the boards and play a set highlighting just why their album A.I. is picking up so many favourable reviews.
It appeared a fairly subdued start as the opener California nicely meandered its way hypnotically before the ante was upped with This Is It and Head Like This, both very David Byrne-like in both sound and construction and both minor gems in a what is a pretty darn good start to both the album and the band’s live set.
The single Travelator, which opens the album and the stand-out track live, reminiscent of Paul Weller’s From The Floorboards Up certainly gets the blood pumping with the band’s rhythm section letting rip as does Tomatoes with its quirky keyboard and Dick Dale surf-punk guitar both complimented by softer moments, the wistful Friends, written and sung by guitarist Keyo, and the catchy Shape and Form.
A more mature and thoughtful recording than their debut album Downstairs For Dancing, A.I. is more instant and easy to listen to with a number of tunes that burrow deep on first hearing whilst after a few plays you find a few more work their magic, taking the listener by surprise with your favourite track/s constantly on shuffle after each listen.
It’s worth checking out the Anonymous Iconoclasts and their album. Well produced and well-played and a wealth of good tunes, just wish we knew who they were?
Images: Tony Chapman