LIVE: Pity Sex / Eugene Quell @ The Oslo, London

By Ashwin Bhandari

Another weekday, another night where six decent gigs all happen to clash with each other. In Pity Sex’s defence they had a decent run playing The Great Escape festival in Brighton, and a stint at Kingston’s Banquet Records in 2015. The departure of Britty¬†Drake earlier this year was heart-breaking to say the least. ¬†She gave a nice contrast to Brennan Greaves reserved vocals over layers of fuzzy reverb. It’s weird to think that back in the 90’s, the bands under the shoegaze label such as My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive were given the genre as more of an insult than a clear sonic description.

In 2016 however,  the term has been resuscitated into the idea of music that, at its core, would be indie rock played at 120 decibels and designed for swaying from side to side. Regardless, Pity Sex have their own unique spin on the genre, bringing emo influences into the mix which altogether creates a pretty earworm inducing sound.

First up are noise pop band,¬†Eugene Quell, playing their home territory to a decent sized audience. In some ways their stage presence and general demeanour are reminiscent of bands like Joyce Manor and Weezer but with a lo-fi¬†British spin. An unexpected cover of Blondie’s ‘Heart Of Glass’ has the audience fervently dancing along as they blast through a good chunk of their brief discography.

For a band that have their original roots with math rock/post hardcore its a refreshing transition to see frontman Toby Hays do a project that’s so different but clearly has a lot of fun with. It’s nothing particularly deep or game changing but Eugene Quell do their thing very well.

It’s only until Pity Sex come on when you start to realise that far less people have come out to see them for their final UK show of the year compared to when they last came over. Again, benefit of the doubt could potentially be given due to the show clashing with other events happening the same night, but sadly songs like ‘What Might Soothe You?’ and ‘Coca Cola’ sound incredibly empty without Britty’s ¬†vocals and the crowd’s reaction feels limp after every song.

The high energy instrumentation and distortion pedal layered guitar hooks are still there, yet Pity Sex seemed to sound less put together and concise compared to their studio recordings. ¬†A rather bizarre and out of place cover of The La La’s ‘There She Goes’ is thrown near the end of the set which, in all fairness actually, does suit the band’s style very well, but overall this set is rather disappointing finish to their UK tour this time around.

There’s still potential for the band to pick up where they left off but maybe a new record with a slightly different direction might be suitable rather than sticking with the current material that just doesn’t have the same impact live anymore.

ASHWIN BHANDARI