Pinkshinyultrablast @ The Shipping Forecast, Liverpool 12.05.18

Russian dream pop outfit showcase excellent new album Miserable Miracles live on Merseyside

May 12th, 2018 at The Shipping Forecast, Liverpool / By Richard Lewis
Pinkshinyultrablast @ The Shipping Forecast, Liverpool 12.05.18 A firm fixture of the Liverpool gig circuit at present, space rock types Pale Rider play to a deservedly large early doors crowd in the subterranean setting of The Hold at The Shipping Forecast. A curious stage setup which sees bassist Louis at the back of the stage and the drums facing sideways-on affords the chance to watch tub thumper Sophie's impressive skill behind the kit. An oceanic dub piece second track in showcases the band’s long-form jams, while succinct debut single I Run On Rain, glances off early days (The) Verve, back when Up Holland's finest were single-mindedly gazing at the stars in an era when no-one else was, with vocalist Ben clearly growing into his frontman role.

Where Pale Rider put clear blue water between themselves and their psychedelic peers is their penchant for the gothic, as their fondness for groundbreaking doom meisters Black Sabbath and tongue in cheek Hail Satan exhortations make clear. Accelerating into a swirling mass courtesy of lead guitarist Fran, closing track possibly titled Swim Into the Mouth suggests Wooden Shjips when they reach the point in their set where it feels as though the venue isn’t tethered to the Earth anymore.

Newcastle electro sorts Warm Digits are founded on waves of pulsating electronics that throb like Can crossed with latter-day synth pop. While the lion’s share of their material is instrumental, the tracks with vocals supplied by laptop samples provide the live highlights, with fizzing synth driven math rock cut The Rumble and the Tremor, featuring US indie folk singer Devon Sproule particularly impressive. The pair’s best-known track, the pulsatant Growth of Raindrops is the summit, as Saint Etienne's vocalist Sarah Cracknell’s voice is overlaid with caustic Kevin Shields-style guitar scrawls.

With the performance space cleared (calling it a stage is pushing it slightly) a table festooned with various bits of electronic hardware, two Vox AC30 amps and a pedal board are assembled for tonight’s headliners. The crowd gather round the brick pillars and at both sides of the stage, virtually eyeball to eyeball with synth/dreampop collective Pinkshinyultrablast.

The pattering synth motif that opens Dance AM comes into full bloom brilliantly, kickstarting a clutch of tracks from opalescent new album Miserable Miracles. Given that the venue is a low-ceilinged basement faced with a band rather fond of reverb, the sound is excellent, Lyubov’s voice cutting cleanly through the mesmeric swirl of the music. New tracks Triangles and Find Your Saint are the equal of their studio bound versions, with Lyubov’s gossamer, ear balm vocals in full effect.

Enveloped by the sound, the singer appears to be lost in a reverie for the entire set, while guitarist Roman’s swift pedalwork keeps him in almost constant movement around his FX, switching between six strings and synth melodies. Electronics doyen Rustam meanwhile cuts a professorial figure, hunched over a myriad of sequencers and keyboards creating the textures and oscillating patterns that underpins the whole affair.

Over far too soon, the dozen strong setlist glides past in an ambient blur, with the strong feeling that on their next visit the three-piece will be moving out of the basement into far larger rooms.