“You can keep chatting – Dustin’s just having a meltdown” explains A Winged Victory for the Sullen’s Adam Wiltzie as their expected start time creeps past. Apparently, Glasgow’s Baltic temperatures are playing havoc with tunings, a weather report that rings personally true after spending a half hour shivering at Oran Mor’s entrance due to a guest-list mix-up. It’s a minor hiccup, but one that unfortunately means missing most of Sleepingdog – though from what little we hear through the outer wall, their unhurried, crystalline atmosphere is the perfect mood-setter.
With meltdown averted, AWVFTS are ready to begin, but not before issuing an apology for the list error (Dustin O’Halloran sheepishly claims responsibility) and due notice that they may not be wholly fighting fit (“I just ate a plate of fish and chips and I want to fall asleep” cautions Wiltzie). Wiltzie is walking a dangerous line: the duo’s sedative ambience is never dull, but its chemical effects are often soothing to the point of requiring a ‘do not operate heavy machinery' warning. That said, this is emphatically AWVFTS’s non-drowsy guise: all the components sound more pronounced than on record, particularly the robust drones that rumble beneath the gentle neo-classical strings and piano lines. When they announce they’ve all but exhausted their material and bid Glasgow good night, it’s a shock akin to being roused from slumber – with no rough edges to their beautifully sonorous yet minimalist sound, the evening flies past.