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DOUBLE VISION
:: doublejoHngrey :: The Amber Club ::
24 November 2006 / The Castle / Oldham
By Cath Aubergine

Angry, brutal and ear-chewingly loud, half way through their set it dawns on me that Doublejo(h)ngrey are the anti-Kasabian. Think of Primal Scream's millennial stint as vowel-eschewing electropunk warriors, and cast aside the mindless riffing and swaggering bits on which the Leicester lads built their "Empire". Replace with something dark and industrial - both in the Cabaret Voltaire sense and the rain-lashed Northern town sense. Add some gloomy Peter Hook bass and a frontman whose abrasive vocal aggression seems at odds with his understated, ego-free almost to the point of invisibility, stage manner. Doublejo(h)ngrey are unpleasant in the best possible way. Two keyboard / sequencer players build up the clashing, pulsing Suicide menace; at one point a trumpet screams across the top of this multi-levelled noise. There are quieter moments here and there; a lead vocal swap heralds something almost New Orderishly tuneful, but for the most part this is the sound of Robocop busting a warehouse rave in a crumbling milltown, and after a few years evolving around the fringes of the Manchester live circuit Doublejo(h)ngrey finally look set to force the wider world to grapple with their ridiculous punctuational anomaly.

The Amber Club have an overwhelming sense that they don't know what day it is, don't know what year it is even, and don't care so long as the stash tin's not running dry. The garish spotlights and relentlessly puffing smoke machine of the Castle have finally found the right band. Liquidy trippy guitar sounds that have wandered out of a psychedelic free festival, shuffling post-baggy beats and churning dub-grooved bass fill the coloured space, but all eyes are on frontman Pete (or, er, Captain Rock as the bandís Myspace profile claims). You can't help it. He looks like a proper Rock God from the days when you had to if you were going to front a band and has a remarkable talent for making his often barely comprehensible stoner drawl sound like grand proclamations, and whether he's standing stagefront and messianically outstretched, thrashing his skinny torso with a tambourine or curling into a ball on the dancefloor below he's never dull to watch. Musically the Amber Club are unashamedly retro, as one punter decides to point out to one of the Manchestermusic crew before explaining how she prefers Bloc Party (erm... Gang Of Cure, anyone?); and this is the crux of it really - there's very little music today that's not seeped in the past, it's just a case of how well you do it. The Amber Club would be unlikely to claim to be breaking any new musical boundaries, but with a salvo of epic space-travelling indie-hippy tunes and a sound that's so big the room can hardly contain it, they leave fans grinning and begging for more.



Resources:
Amber Club on MySpace
DoubleJo(h)nGrey

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