The last part of our Berlin rock’n’roll adventures is all about noise and dream pop: the seductive combination of Ringo Deathstarr’s sexy, '80s revival shoegaze noise and Puro Instinct’s ethereal, psychedelic pop.
Both bands have just started making waves this year with the release of their respective debut albums, "Headbangers in Ecstasy" by Puro Instinct and "Colour Trip" by Ringo Deathstarr, and judging by the fact that the tiny Comet Club was not exactly filled to capacity, it seems that there is still work to be done by both of them before really making their mark.
LA’s Puro Instinct, led by sisters Piper and Skylar Kaplan, had to deal with a few sound problems but they still managed to deliver a satisfying set of powered up versions of their delicate tunes. Piper, the band’s singer and natural center of attention with her young Debbie Harry looks, still needs experience to become more comfortable on stage but her sensual voice, a perfect fit for Puro Instinct’s daydream sound, is already one of the band’s most valuable assets. Skylar, her even younger sister, is also a major influence on the band’s sound, contributing psychedelic colors to the melodies with her distinctive guitar playing. Puro Instinct’s songwriting skills may not have reached yet the desired levels of headbanging ecstasy, but tracks like "Stilyagi" promise that full bloom may soon be upon us.
Ringo Deathstarr hail from Austin, Texas, but you couldn’t tell just by listening to "Colour Trip". The album’s sound is firmly rooted in the mid '80s UK noise pop pioneered by Jesus And Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine that eventually gave birth to the whole shoegaze scene of the early '90s. Ringo Deathstarr are doing a fine job of recreating that much loved combination of sugar pop melodies and howling guitar noise on record, but the live experience becomes even louder and the influence of US noise bands like Sonic Youth becomes equally pivotal to their sound. In a few tracks, especially some of those sung by guitarist Elliott Frazier, even hardcore punk makes its presence felt, making the band’s Texas origins much more obvious.
In general, though, the band at the moment has two main operative modes, and those are "Psychocandy"-era Jesus And Mary Chain machinegun noise pop mainly on tracks sung by Frazier and My Bloody Valentinesque swoon pop on those where bassist/guitarist Alex Gehring takes the lead. Although this is definitely not something new, it is certainly exiting to experience it live and personally I’d much rather have an '80s noise revival than to listen to most of the current trendy chillwave or post-dubstep laptop music. Exciting live music needs loud guitars and Ringo Deathstarr are more than happy to provide us. Judging by tonight’s fired up performance and by what I’m reading in this interview about the direction they want to take for their next record ("My Bloody Valentine mixed with Fugazi and Bad Brains, but also getting in some De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest somehow"), I think we can expect even more exciting things from Elliott, Alex and Daniel in the near future.
Ringo Deathstarr - Imagine Hearts, live @ Comet Club (Aug. 9, 2011)
Puro Instinct - Stilyagi, live @ Comet Club (Aug. 9, 2011)