Gig review: Public Service Broadcasting, Edinburgh

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QUITE probably an excuse to plunder some atmospheric and out-of-copyright vocal samples, as they are a band seemingly destined for the long haul, pseudonymous duo J Willgoose Esq. (guitars, keyboards) and Wrigglesworth (drums) are nevertheless in charge of an imagination-grabbing archive retrieval turned pop music project.

The Caves

***

They blend vocal samples from old British public information films from the middle of last century with a strident and atmospheric instrumental soundtrack that reminds of Krautrock classics like Neu and Can.

It’s a tactic which translates very well on to record, transcending the gimmicky nature of the project to create some powerful music. In the live setting, the retro aesthetic extended to the visual element as well, with stacks of vintage televisions to either side of the stage and a screen made up the same way in the background showing edited clips of the original films.

We experienced the Blitz-era drama of London Can Take It, the Battle of Britain-commemorating Spitfire, a thundering adaptation of early documentary classic Night Mail and the blunt road safety instructional Signal 30.

It was all very enjoyable and well worked. Yet there was something lacking in their live incarnation, or certainly within this setting.

It was neither quiet and comfortable enough to enjoy the visuals, nor uninhibited enough to truly immerse yourself in the music.