Thursday 23 September 2010

Still Corners @ London ICA

Still Corners are an effortlessly cool band. They appear with an air of aloofness on stage, plug in and play – a hazy ebb and flow of rippling guitars with the deftest kiss of bass. Lead singer Tessa looks like something out of a dreamy soft focus movie, her blonde hair trailing over one eye, her sixties styled attire suiting the ambience perfectly. She spends most of her time clasping the microphone stand with both hands, but now and then lazily taps a tambourine against her leg. “You’ve probably noticed I don’t talk very much. That’s because I think the music’s more important,” she says later. She’s right, it is, and it’s wonderful.

Songs titles are almost irrelevant. This is as much about atmosphere as it is about individual tunes, much like a film soundtrack – abstract visuals at the back of the stage compound the sense of this even more so. The art-house / exhibition space of the ICA was made for this band. A fuzzy distant warmth washes over the attentive audience - it's a sonic landscape full of haunting melodies and sounds. If titles must be named then Endless Summer is probably the perfect example of what the band do – a downbeat spectral lullaby constructed of foggy beauty. There’s a sense of calm to Still Corners – their performance has a druggy tranquilizing effect, you can’t help but just stare wide eyed - even when at the end they wrench the last ounce of noise from their guitars. Still Corners are channelling something out of the ordinary from somewhere. Wherever they’re getting it from it must be a blissful place to be. Unspeakably good.

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