11 October 2012 (gig)
20 November 2012
Straight out of Kingston (Upon -on-Thames) comes dreamy 'night pop' project, Alpines, and after a year that has seen them open the bill for Florence and the Machine and perform at UK festivals' alongside the likes of Dizzee Rascal, Roots Manuva and Alt-J, it's really nice to hear vocalist, Catherine Pockson’s genuine excitement as she tells the audience that this is Alpines’ first sold-out headline show.
The Lexington crowd, packed into the small confines of the pub's upstairs room - a venue that, despite its limited capacity, continues to attract the best in up and coming, as well as established acts – is treated to a set that, whilst short in length, is full in substance. From the juxtaposition of syncopated rhythms and ethereal vocals in opening track, ‘Cocoon’ to the metronomic, angular beats that lay the foundations of immediate standout, 'Chances', Alpines set the tone for a set that is, on the one hand, fresh, contemporary and innovative, whilst on the other, very familiar, particularly in the sense that it has a haunting 90's quality to it, of the ‘Blue Lines’, Massive Attack ilk - largely in the delivery of vocals, but also in occasional basslines and guitar licks provided by the other half of the duo, Bob Matthews.
Aside from one unfortunate deviation in tone during the set, where somehow an arpeggiated, overly-sentimental pop song crept on to the list, Alpines brim with gutsy songs and infectious energy, with the real highlight being latest single, 'Empires' - if that is the shape of what is to come then Alpines are heading for really big things in the not too distant future. The song, and Alpines’ sound in general is cool enough to keep the hipsters interested; loyal enough to an established sound to keep existing fans on board, and grand and accessible enough to hit a much wider mainstream audience.
If there were to be any real critique levelled at Alpines, it would be to assert themselves on the audience a little more. Tonight showed genuine potential for big things, but now they need to believe that they deserve it and let us know that they know it too!