GHUM, Aufbau Principle & Curdle at The Hug and Pint, 16/07/19
Out of all the new bands to have emerged under the
post-punk label within the past couple of years, GHUM is so far one of the most
intriguing in my opinion. The fact that its four members hail from Spain,
Brazil, London and Malaysia already makes for a diverse line-up, but what
really sets them apart is the way their ‘ghost grunge’ atmospherics embrace
the darker side of sound and emotion. Where better to catch them live,
then, than at the Hug and Pint with support from two of Glasgow’s own names?
If a group of individuals coming together over a
“shared love of riot grrrl, Hole, Misfits and 60s girl bands” sounds wildly
outrageous, that’s because it is. Despite their glamorous look, opening act
Curdle’s ‘trippy riot pop’ features tongue-in-cheek titles like ‘Dave Gahan is
such a love butt’, and they sure do make plenty of references to corpses too.
As self-taught musicians Wiggy, Sarah, Clare and Lucy create psychedelic
harmonies humming along to ‘Knock’ - a song about finding a severed head - tracks
like ‘In My Car’ meanwhile deliver raw noise that really packs a punch (it’s
also probably the first time I’ve ever seen a guitar be played with a knife or
a theremin being used during a live set, for that matter). I’d heard a lot
about Curdle as a local band and had to yet to experience them for myself, but
after tonight I can definitely see what the hype is about.
Speaking of hype, Aufbau Principle and their
‘caustic and doomed post-punk’ are another revelation in their own right.
There’s something about the drawn-out nature of tracks like ‘And the bleeding
is slow’ and ‘Hedonist’ off their "ABATTOIR" EP that’s strangely soothing despite
their spooky feel and monotone vocals, especially in the way Kieran and Qaiyyum
expand on each other’s guitar melodies during instrumental passages. That, and
the fact that along with Nicola on bass and Ruth on drums, all four of them are
so deeply focused and in sync with each other it’s uncanny. Just as you’re
lulled into a false sense of security, however, songs like ‘Romance’ pick up
the pace while others build up into an aggressive wall of sound that can barely
be contained in such a small venue. Aufbau Principle are essentially every bit
as cool as their name suggests and might just be one of Glasgow’s best-kept secrets,
so they’re absolutely worth adding to your radar.
You could almost be forgiven for thinking the crowd
had come exclusively for the support acts, but there’s still a reason why GHUM
are the headliners of the night. Word about them has clearly been spreading
given the turnout, and as Laura, Marina, Jojo and Vicki step out onto the stage
under dim blue lighting it’s like seeing an apparition in the moonlight.
At first they almost come across as cautious with
Laura holding back on her voice during ‘Get Up’, but once they’ve warmed up
after two tracks, something takes over. From the thunderous intensity of
‘Shallow’ to the defiant line “a thousand men can’t keep me safe” in ‘1000
Men’, GHUM give it their all to the point where each member onstage stands out
as a unique part of a whirlwind whole, be it Laura’s strained, husky vocals and
non-stop dancing, Jojo’s hair-raising guitar tone, Vicki’s scattered drumming
or Marina’s gothic basslines.
Despite several attempts on my part at getting a
decent shot, it honestly feels like an insult not to be giving them my
full undivided attention with every second that passes. New song ‘Kalifornia’
is another highlight, and as they end their set with ‘Saturn’ – a favourite of
mine off their recent EP The Coldest Fire – it just goes to show that eight
tracks are enough to achieve a rock solid performance. GHUM's music may be
chilling, but this band has a burning passion for what they do that cannot be
extinguished. With a bit of luck, they'll hopefully be sticking around for a while.