Review: Champs – The Fleece, Bristol – Tuesday 4th March 2014

champs-tableReview by Kevin McGough – Introverted and unassuming brothers Michael and David Champion, who comprise Isle of Wight band Champs, are as far from the boxing stereotype their moniker brings to mind. Theirs is rather a more desolate and brooding take on the world which is more in tune with their roots in their ghostly hometown – Victorian seaside resort Ventnor. Here ahead of the release of their debut album “Down Like Gold,” they enter the arena not with a bombastic light show or to raucous rap music, but instead creep on backed by eerie space echoes reminiscent of “2001 A Space Odyssey”. “Down Like Gold’”clearly runs deep with songs about lost love and the timeless protagonist of such melancholy – girls. “My Spirit Is Broken” was written, they insist, for Rachel Stevens, formerly of S Club 7 and “Pretty Much (Since Last November)”  is about bumping into an ex months after you’ve split up and they’re fine but you’re still a crumpled mess. “My Spirit Is Broken” seems brisker – just call it uptempo misery. It’s a bit Empire of the Sun: folk-ish with a production shimmer to connote a sense of wonder as a hazy layer to mask the sorrow. It comes with a video that follows the brothers as they run through the town performing the popular local past-time of ‘pool jumping’ – jumping in people’s swimming pools. It reminds us of Burt Lancaster’s The Swimmer, with a similar sense of pleasure as a cover for the truth. “Savannah” is a figurative song about being engulfed. ‘I’ve never ever seen waves like yours before,’ they sing. As a live entity they have added a pianist, bassist and drummer to the mix to fill out their sound but often it is left to lead singer Michael to hold the fort, which he does with aplomb as he and David create haunting choral vocals entwined over a vast range that does impress. They close on standout track and first single from the album “Savannah” which sees the piano finally spark into life as it knocks out the catchy riff that defines the song. “Down Like Gold” comes on 10 March 2014 through all normal channels. Check them out here: www.facebook.com/champschampschamps

What does lockdown mean for our music venues?

Read more

Review: The Orielles' showcase their spatial indie pop at SWX

Read more

Review: The Big Moon's headlining return sonically soars at Fleece

Read more

Review: Damien Jurado beautifully back in tune at St George's

Read more

Review: Delectable delta blues at The Louisiana with Daddy Long Legs

Read more

Preview: Daddy Long Legs - Brooklyn Trio live at The Louisiana (18th February)

Read more

Review: The Libertines' still relevant at rowdy evening at the O2

Read more

Review: Hiss Golden Messenger at stripped back Thekla show

Read more

Review: The Bros. Landreth's blues rock bares all at Fleece

Read more

Pic Gallery: Hot Chip @ O2 Academy

Read more

Review: Chastity Belt's floaty indie rock aboard revamped Thekla

Read more

Review: Making Waves - The Art of Cinematic Sound

Read more

Review: The Downs, Bristol delivers another musical Shangri-La in fourth annual festival

Read more

Preview: The Downs, Bristol returns in style with star-studded 2019 line-up

Read more

Review: Skunk Anansie's storming, crowd surfing sell out at O2 Academy

Read more

Review: Heavy Trip - enjoyably daft Finnish heavy metal comedy (available on digital platforms from 5th August)

Read more

Review: The Specials raise spirits at soggy harbourside show

Read more

Review: Jeffrey Lewis & Los Bolts - loquacious anti-tunes and comic book charm at The Exchange

Read more

Love Saves the Day Review: teenagers, gurners and another weekend of world class electronic music

Read more

Love Saves the Day - Who to see and when

Read more