Seabound/Pride and Fall

The Garage, London - 9 April 2005

"Artists fully deserving of their reputations"

It says something about the disappointment I felt when I first saw Seabound that I'd completely forgotten I had previously seen them live! Thankfully, tonight's charged event firmly suppressed those thoughts for good. This Dependent double-header (with labelmeister Stefan Herwig in attendance) should have satisfied even the most hard to impress London underground poseur.

[Pride + Fall]Norway's Pride and Fall proved they could adequately tick all the required 'future pop' boxes with their sound debut, 2003's Nephesh. This evening proved further that they could convincingly carry that momentum through to their live performances. In fact, such was their on stage energy that songs previously sidelined as middling, took on an altogether more compelling edge. Many of tonight's renditions were harsher, louder and harder than their album counterparts, and when they called upon the audience to "Make some noise!" the well-up-for-it crowd responded both verbally and with their feet. The cool sequencer bassline of December was a reminder of Nephesh's high points, whilst the brief encore provided a sneak preview of the second album. If your already a fan then you'll love these guys live. If you're not, you just might be after seeing them.

Seabound, aka Frank Spinath and Martin Vorbrodt, firmly buried any previous disillusionment I may have had with style. The set was designed to have them dancing, cheering and waving arms, and it succeeded admirably. Not tonight any of the usual 'uncomfortable about being the first down the front' that English crowds can so often 'greet' foreign acts. As much as the audience was, quite obviously, partisan, Seabound proved that their loyalty was well-placed.

[Seabound: Frank Spinath]Something of a dancefest from start to finish, the fast beats (brought to the fore by some unexpected but entirely welcome live percussion) were only infrequently interrupted by more measured tempos. The most memorable example of which was a gorgeous rendition of Watching Over You - touchingly dedicated to the late, great Fad Gadget (who Spinath said he'd seen perform in this very venue some years before).

There was a cracking version of Smoke, and Go International can't help but prompt thoughts of former stablemates Covenant. Worth special mention was the effort to go beyond simply recreating faithful live versions of the studio recordings. Instead imagination was applied throughout meaning there were new aspects and perspectives (including the vocals) on familiar songs. With a light show that would have impressed at Wembley Arena, the entire evening was a sweaty delight from start to finish, and served only to consolidate Dependent as a label with artists fully deserving of their reputations.

Rob Dyer