Monday, 10 February 2014

live review: The Wave Pictures / Eugene Tombs / The Yawns @ Mono, 30th January

For reasons unknown, The Yawns have a battle on their hands eliciting a response from Mono’s mostly seated denizens tonight, with even polite applause peculiarly unforthcoming. Not that the band seem fazed, with frontman Sean Armstrong insouciantly strolling the empty floor while the rest of the Glasgow five-piece proffer lightly tousled melodies that, it’s fair to say, merit greater enthusiasm.

With the room starting to fill, Eugene Tombs have an easier time of it – and certainly, a dose of wonky clarinet in the opening instrumental proves an effective attention-grabber. The rest of the set is comparatively conventional but equally exciting, with a combination of Shadows-like reverb guitar and cosmic psychedelia that at times recalls XTC-side project The Dukes of Stratosphear.

This is The Wave Pictures’ fifth visit to Mono in the space of a year, including a three-night residency last April. Still, with their most recent album topping 90-minutes, there’s no shortage of strong material to disburse Glasgow’s way, and tonight makes clear just why they’re welcomed back so regularly. Dave Tattersall’s versatile guitar playing is a particularly distinct draw, whether he’s delivering bluesy riffs, engaging in agile soloing or gently picking out the sparkling refrain of Red Cloud Road (a highlight of the set).

Vocally, too, Tattersall is customarily engaging, both in the content of his lyrics and their delivery: raw and personal on New Skin, witty and playful on Spaghetti. The easy camaraderie onstage translates to a cheery atmosphere off, and when they wrap up proceedings with a woozy run through Tiny Craters in the Sand, it’s a safe bet that a few in attendance are already counting down the days to the band’s inevitable return.

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