Friend of BYT and former DC resident Dan Brimberg (aka Danny England) was kind enough to send us this report from his new home town in the UK after I demanded he go see my favorite new band frYars. Since there are no plans for a US show anytime in the near future, this is the best we can do. -cale
So the scene is the Soho Revue Bar, set right in the heart of London’s Soho (duh). It has recently been renovated with a stylish 60’s décor. There are globular red lights set amongst lounge-style tables that rise up from the stage area to the back of the room, where there is a bar. I settle in and start fidgeting with my new camera which I have no idea how to use [obviously -ed] and after about 15 minutes I manage to find a preset for taking pics in the dark. Phew.
BeSides making me hIt mY shift keY in the MiddLe of WoRds, nothing else annoys me about this band. The creative force behind frYars is Ben Garrett, a 19 year old Londoner with loads of songwriting talent. Visually, lyrically, and sonically I got the impression of Bob Dylan being fused with Ian Curtis, but it didn’t seem like he’s imitating either one.
The music is well composed and tastefully mixed with plenty of effects, sometimes very natural, other times more electronic. He has a great sense of how to leverage technology to evoke the feelings he wants in the music. One of his more mellow tunes, “The Novelist’s Wife”, reminded me somewhat of Sufjan Stevens, but other songs like “The Ides” or “Olive Eyes” had me dancing in my seat, and are more similar to Architecture in Helsinki or the Fiery Furnaces. His interaction with the crowd was good, and although he seems a little shy, he’s communicative. Apparently, a lot of the young Londone hipsters there were his friends, and his dad was also there, so there’s a ground swell of support for him. The show was only an hour long, but that’s only because he doesn’t have a big enough repertoire yet. I don’t think it will take long for this brilliant kid to catch on, and I can see why he’s already being hailed as one of 2007/8’s best indie acts.
FrYars new EP “The Perfidy” is available on iTunes today. It’s definitely worth a listen.