Mowbird Telfords
are an oddment, and long may they be so. Their native Wrexham may only be twelve miles away, but they may as well come from another planet so far as their songs are concerned. And, similar to Maines last night, they are quite simply – interesting.
On my second date with Steve Sync in as many days, we battled through rugby fans, saag aloo with pilau rice and apocalyptic weather to get to Chester tonight. It was early, and I was the designated driver and it dawned on me that I’ve not actually seen Mowbird sober (that’s me, not the band). Our early arrival gave us the opportunity to disturb Adam Walton’s rhythm as he played his crackling vinyl here at Telfords Warehouse. We discussed the lack of bands that are cunts in this day and age; in the sense that everyone is nice to each other (too nice), for fear of being shot down in the flames of social media. Come back Der Bomber!

Mowbird are not a band who are going to headbutt Mike Payne as he plays onstage with Mechanical Owl, or sabotage Baby Brave‘s guitars before a gig, or offer out Bonzai Massacre during a huge Facebook slanging match. Those colourful days of the police intervening on stage as Pocket Venus have a fist-fight with a guitar tech or 4Q being arrested under the Obscene Publications Act do seem very distant in this PC world.

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(Back to reality)… There was no introduction, no fanfare… Mowbird were up and running without further ado… Their bandcamp page boasts several releases in their six year existence, including the debut album Islander, a blue vinyl copy of which I now own. The page will also tell you they describe themselves as lo-fi, punk, surf… A description I’m at odds with, although a description of any nature is pretty hard… slacker pop? No-fi?
If you can say what you need to say in about 90 seconds, why bother talking for another three minutes? Mowbird’s songwriting policy is one of short songs, most of them sound unfinished, and this adds to their interesting sound. There is that surf sound guitar, but it is more a strangled dystopian surf sound over a poppy back-line. Add retrofitted keyboards and quirked vocals and it kind of adds up to a neo-noir pop sound (if such a thing exists – it does now).
That poppy back-line comes from Seazoo‘s Ben Trow and Mike Smith, with Ben looking like he sprang from the loins of Adam Walton and Stephen Merchant. Suzanne Dempsey provides those keyboards and her look of disinterest actually adds to the interest. While Ben Sawin is on guitar and vocals; his tall frame leaves him almost hunched due to the low ceiling.

There is a kind of detached element to Mowbird’s live performances, they only half face their audience rather than perform to you. You’re not going to run the risk of being singled out by the band; they’re going to play their weird new-wave fairground songs, tap their feet, occasionally beast their guitars into a feedback frenzy and then go home. Which is exactly what they did…

Hints of an imminent second album called Quest are now in abundance; it was recorded last year, and we were treated to a few of the songs tonight… And they betrayed an added vigour to the repertoire  (the second new one was particularly cool). I hope this album adds to my vinyl collection…
Well worth your time to investigate right here…

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