Twin Atlantic, I am Hope, Failsafe

Huw Evans 27/09/2009

The night got off to a blistering start with Cardiff band I Am Hope. They are a high energy rock band that you might expect to come from South Wales except they have some of the best vocals I've heard in a long time coupled with some death defying rhythms. The songs are not your average three minute wonders, rather they twist and turn like demented snakes. Both guitarists' vocals go together perfectly and with songs like Amnesia, you can see these guys might have struck gold. The second act tonight is Failsafe who kick off hard and fast and keep the energy for the entire set. Vocalist and synth player Jim says: 'It's good to see so many of you out on a Monday night' (it's Sunday and someone tells him). 'I don't even know what day it is', he replies. It's obvious these guys are working hard, and with big choruses and adding some synths and effects to the repertoire, have something a bit different to offer from your average punk/metal band.

Welcome to your new favourite band, that's who Twin Atlantic are. If you find that statement a bit bold you will only understand if you catch them live or take the time to listen to their music. In guitarist and cellist Barry McKenna they have one of the most talented musicians in the country and front man Sam McTrusty can hold a crowd in the palm of his hand. Twin Atlantic will inevitably be compared to Biffy Clyro for their prog sound and diehard fans with the logo and lyrics tatooed on their bodies. What they do so brilliantly, as the aforementioned band, is build a song until it erupts into a huge chorus. They're also masters of suspense as with the song Caribbean War syndrome with its intricate guitar parts and vocals coupled with a beautiful piano ending, played live by bassist Ross Mcnae.

They start the set with Lightspeed, complete with a big chorus and McKenna's awesome finger tapping guitar. This is their first release from new album Vivarium (an enclosed area for keeping and raising animals or plants for observation or research) which was released on the 14th of September. Alongside new single You're Turning Into John Wayne with very political lyrics in a bursting chorus, there's Old Grey Face with its chugging changing rhythms and drive into a massive rock-out and an epic ending.

As if this isn't enough, McKenna brings out his electric cello for a couple of songs mid set and it blows me away completely. McTrusty pulls out his acoustic guitar and plays an incredibly soulful song accompanied with some blinding cello work from McKenna. Human After All is introduced by McTrusty as 'a song about Davina McCall - but not in a good way', combining some razor sharp rhythm in the break down with'she makes me lust for everything' as lyrics. McTrusty makes a fine front man with his banter and controls the crowd with ease, leaving the stage to play his guitar in amongst the crowd and dropping to his knees. Ending with Audience And Audio confusing rhythms build up suspense to a huge chorus then somehow go up another notch to an bigger chorus. McTrusty climbs on his Marshall cab at the end and wrecks it, a proper old-school ending; leading me to think they must have some serious backing to break this kind of gear. This band have got it all as far as I'm concerned and I can't see them playing venues like this for much longer if there's any justice in the world.

I am Hope Myspace

Failsafe Myspace

Twin Atlantic Myspace