The Features @ Monto Water Rats

Wednesday 10th February 2010,

An overflowing bill was eager to get started this evening resulting in us arriving with the time ticking down for the nights first band Stereo Decade. It’s hard to judge on the merits of the last few songs of their set, but seemed like fairly competent indie pop rockers with a grasp of a decent melody.

The Gresham Flyers were next to take to the Monto Stage. These guys played with an off-killter pop sound which was jangly and had plenty of happy go lucky melodies. Image-wise they looked like they advertised for members on the pinboard of the local a English countryside village community club  I liked them at the time, but as soon as the next group took the stage I had already forgotten them……Next!

Patch William had the next shot at impressing the swelling crowd who started the let the increasingly stifling temperature bother them. Gratefully this was a good junction at which to get some fresh air at the bar as a rather mundane set of serious indie pop was broadcast. Their melodies were as pleasant as they were uninspiring. Vocally they cast a air of teetering emotion and musically they could also tug the heartstrings. It was hard to fully appreciate them here this evening, Their breed of pop needs to be savoured individually as opposed to wedged into a pub backroom with 200 others each secretly wishing everyone else would leave.

The Features (sporting beards of epic proportions) began transmitting their version of optimistically upbeat indie rock. After recently being re-signed after a long time in the indie scrapheap they were eager to perform (an aweful lot of) their latest material from last year’s Some Kind Of Salvation. Standout tunes from their latest LP played this evening were the delightfully odd and ever rocking GMF (Genetically Modified Fable), the catchy pop shuffle of Wooden Heart and Gates Of Hell complete with an emotional fragility, a meandering melody and a whistling solo.

What I was awaiting was late in arriving but worth the wait. Occassional trips down memory lane resulted in outstanding performances of the finest tunes from their debut album Exhibit A. Exorcising Demons was a fun filled organ driven fragile pop classic and the lyrically quirky, piano pummelling melodies of Me & The Skirts was ace.

Exiting for the obligatory encore break, I reflected on how rare it is to catch a band of such great pop musicianship and already proven greatness in one of Londons tiniest venues. Their show was bright as well as fun filled, with their crazed style and siublime if simplistic song writing talents. If karma takes it true course this will be the last venue of this size they will be playing!

Returning The Features final fling included two outstanding tunes. The Idea Of Growing Old their heartfelt ballad of meeting “the one” was laced with their charachteristic charm and swelling poignancy. Finishing with a raw outpouring of blues energy on Exhibit A, showing they can also throw in a catchy guitar lick or two to compliment their spontaneous pop.

The absence of the happiest song ever recorded, Blow It Out was a gaping hole in thie show alongside their new album heavy setlist but they did enough to warrant my unwavering support for many more years to come!

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