In recent years, the alternative rock scene has seen a gradual movement away from its guitar-heavy, riff-pounding roots. In its place stands something a lot more intimate, with artists like Mac Demarco, Ariel Pink and, more recently, Yellow Days pioneering a lo-fi pop-rock sound. Complete with lead vocalist Stephen Fitzpatrick’s jingling guitar and an Apple Mac-come-drum machine, Her’s D.I.Y aesthetic comfortably places them alongside such artists. The band’s first full-length release, An Invitation to Her’s, channels these attributes to whimsical effect, producing a collection of pop ballads infused with falsetto vocals and worldbuilding lyrics.[pullquote]it’s refreshing to see a band so in touch with the humility of alt-rock gigs[/pullquote]
Despite the myriad of breezy tunes that the LP offers, the Liverpool-based duo turned to an older single, ‘Marcel’, to enchant the intimate offerings of Digital’s Think Tank venue. The song rings out with an air of nostalgia, Norweigan Audun Laading’s bass grounding song’s upbeat verses with a hypnotising rhythm. Moving onto ‘Mannie’s Smile’, the second track from the LP, the band kickstarted their devoted fans with a sense of energy, nonchalant bouncings from those looking for a “little boogie” as they would come to call upon the audience later. ‘Low beam’ rang with a similar air of careless fun, as declarations of the chorus, ‘I know that your on’, very much extend onto the willingness of both audience and band members.
Aside from the energetic exercises of the gig’s attendees, what may once have constituted the label of ‘moshing’, there’s a pleasant awkwardness to the band’s interludes. Contending with equally vigorous sounds of Bloxx, who played in Think Tank’s ‘underground’ venue, Laading makes several playful jibes at their sonic battle with these fellow artists. Accompanied alongside Fitzpatrick’s zany ramblings on the lineage of both band members (they’re apparently brothers…and grew up on a farm?), it’s refreshing to see a band so in touch with the humility of alt-rock gigs, albeit an equally distracting detour away from the performance.
Entering into the final knockings of the set, the duo channel some of their earlier work from their EP Song’s for Her’s, an effort which vamps up the intimacy thanks to slow grooves like ‘What Once Was’ and ‘I’ll Try’, the latter of which somehow simultaneously closes the gig whilst also drawing together a bassline for the band’s first encore track ‘Under Wraps’. Fitzpatrick humorously calls upon this song as the ‘emo’ counterpart to the final ‘banger’ of the encore ‘speed racer’ which, aptly to its name, delivers a dynamic conclusion to the night’s events. All in all, while Her’s are yet to set the industry alight with their woozy pop, they’ve certainly gained a fanbase dedicated enough to follow their journey.