Dry Cleaning @ Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh, 13 Feb
Dry Cleaning bring a new twist to post-punk, showing why they're a band to watch for the future
Personality Toilet open with some light country flavour to their punk, their yearning melodies faring better than the loose jamming. But it's Pozi who kick things into gear with real old school energy, all three members contributing vocals, mixing elastic post-punk bass and violin that's plucked, scraped and bowed. They make an impressive array of noise that never stops moving for their 30 minutes.
Both Lewis Maynard (bass) and Tom Dowse (guitar) have histories with hardcore and experimental bands, and it shows tonight in the way they wield their instruments as one half of Dry Cleaning. They're both more interested in riffs than simple chords or melodies, bringing in more complex arrangements than those usually found in the minimalism of post-punk.
Singer Florence Shaw stays enigmatically still through most of the show, her calm demeanour complementing her deadpan delivery, though some livelier yelps and ad-libs appear on final tracks Magic of Meghan and Conversation. Her lyrics are occasionally lost in the mix (a tough engineering feat with such hushed vocals amongst a full band), but it generally sounds great, especially on the standout Viking Hair.
One new song, Strong Feelings, shows the band growing in confidence with their sound, with yet more adroit lyricism floating ethereally atop the swirling arrangement. The conversational tone of Magic of Meghan loses some of its intimacy live (despite the cosiness of Sneaky's), while the fragmented gambits of Conversation work perfectly as decontextualised snippets that dip in and out, before the connection is finally severed and the biggest breakdown of the night closes the set.
Dry Cleaning are still in their infancy, but they bring an originality to the rapidly over-saturating post-punk market and look to have the confidence to keep their sound evolving into the future.