Pale Blue Eyes, Cruush @ Boileroom, Guildford, UK, 2nd February, 2023 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, February 27th, 2024  

Pale Blue Eyes

Pale Blue Eyes, Cruush

Pale Blue Eyes, Cruush @ Boileroom, Guildford, UK, 2nd February, 2023,

Feb 08, 2023 Photography by Andy Robbins Web Exclusive
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Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Independent Venue Week has become an early highlight of the UK’s live music calendar as new and established acts come together to champion independent music and arts venues and the people that own, run and work in them.

Pale Blue Eyes
Pale Blue Eyes

There can be few better examples than Guildford’s Boileroom. A safe and inclusive space run by a small but dedicated team, forged with an independent spirit that champions musicians and artists through a fantastic and varied program of shows spanning the musical spectrum from indie and rap to metal and soul.

Cruush
Cruush

Opening band Cruush have travelled down from Manchester to play their part in the Boileroom’s Independent Venue Week celebrations by flying the flag for the shoegaze revival. The stage is littered with pedal boards boasting enough switches and flashing lights to resemble the flight deck of a jumbo jet. After a steady start they soon find their feet with a sound that veers down the genre’s dreamier path than the fuzzed-up freakouts of others.

Cruush
Cruush

They seem to gradually grow in confidence before their set really finds its stride with penultimate song “False Start”. The brooding Interpol-like intro is soon interrupted by a soaring guitar riff that cuts right through before Amber Warren’s wistful vocal takes the track into territory more akin to fellow dream-poppers Bleach Lab.

Cruush
Cruush

Pale Blue Eyes meanwhile have seen their reputation grow steadily on the back of the impressive debut album Souvenirs.

What isn’t quite expected though is how tight the band sounds on what is the first night of their UK tour. Also, just how up for it they appear. Singer/guitarist Matt Board looks thrilled as he addresses the crowd to champion independent venues like those he graces tonight.

Pale Blue Eyes
Pale Blue Eyes

But it is Aubrey Simpson who seems to be living his best life. The bassist sports a full-beam smile that rarely, if ever, leaves his face as he constantly bobs his head and grins at his band-members with unabashed glee.

Set openers “Globe” and “TV Flicker” blend the krautrock sound we’ve come to expect from Pale Blue Eyes with the modernist guitar-pop of bands like Dutch Uncles, Teleman and fellow Devonians Metronomy.

Recent single “More” emphasizes that poppier side of their sound even further and sees them transform into an unlikely party band. Even though the brilliant Twin Peaks-style riff of “Little Gem” get slightly lost, the motorik “Star Vehicle” and “Sing It Like You Used To” feel like they’ve been given a fresh dancefloor-friendly impetus when performed live. Its thanks in no small part to the infectious energy that builds from the taut rhythms of Simpson and drummer Lucy Board.

Pale Blue Eyes
Pale Blue Eyes

It’s album closer “Chelsea” that soars the most though. Matt Board’s falsetto vocal soon makes way for glorious waves of reverb-soaked guitar that veers into Slowdive and early M83 territory. It’s a huge sound that would in most cases be the perfect ending.

Pale Blue Eyes
Pale Blue Eyes

Instead, it inspires audience cries for more before they’ve even had chance to leave. After a few furtive glances, they opt against the awkward exit through the curtain side of stage. Instead, they plough straight into the playful “Dr Pong” which gradually builds into a joyous pop freak-out as Board bends double over his Fender Jaguar guitar and seems to lose himself in the moment. It’s a triumphant end to a performance that confirms Pale Blue Eyes as serious contenders.




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