Earlier this month, These New Puritans’ Jack Barnett apparently called time on his band’s future touring prospects. “By my calculations this week will be our last UK tour, so come,” he posted across their social media feeds, prompting ripples of concern amongst fans. But if it was a vaguebooking-style effort to spur concern from those unwilling to cough up the (admittedly steep) ticket price, it’s failed. Standing in a quarter-full Òran Mór, the disconnect between the astonishing sounds emanating from the stage and the scarcity of people on the receiving end makes the viability of taking such ambitious music on the road seem bleak indeed.
None of which matters too much to first-on East India Youth (aka Bournemouth-born William Doyle), who gives a sterling account of his own considerable talents. Comfortable with a range of styles from blissful synth-pop to full-on techno breaks, his set peaks with Hostel EP highlight Heaven, How Long – several minutes of emotive electro tailed by a euphoric coda.
But while under-attendance is de rigour for support acts (and possibly aggravated by the dreich weather outside), the partial emptiness during the headline slot is more bothersome. Not that the band let it affect them, filling the room with unorthodox, inventive symphonies mostly drawn from Field of Reeds. With Elisa Rodrigues reprising her vocal parts and brass boosting the orchestral sweep of tracks like Spiral, the innovative results are spellbinding throughout. Particularly hypnotic are the loops of Organ Eternal and the cinematic slow-build of The Light in Your Name, while well-positioned Hidden cuts up the pace at all the right moments. That more don’t witness it is a shame; that they may never get another opportunity makes it considerably worse.