Gig review: El Hombre Trajeado, Glasgow

RM Hubbert was joined by reunited bandmates Stevie Jones, Ben Jones and Stef Sinclair
RM Hubbert was joined by reunited bandmates Stevie Jones, Ben Jones and Stef Sinclair
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“SEE you in nine years or so” RM Hubbert quipped at the close of this well-received, one-off gig introducing the East End Social programme for another year. El Hombre Trajeado may not have performed live together since 2005.

El Hombre Trajeado - Platform, Glasgow

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Yet while the demands of sustaining a show for less than an hour in the Platform auditorium’s stuffy heat obviously took a toll, guitarist Hubbert and his reunited bandmates, Stevie Jones, Ben Jones and Stef Sinclair, played with impressive unity and verve.

Despite Hubbert taking the group’s rare and mumbled vocals, there’s no obvious focus or lead instrument as such for their post-rock, slivers of jazz sound – Jones’s deft bass generally sprightly and high in the mix; the synths of his brother, Ben, sporadically to the fore with retro space-agey blips, beeps and melodies that leaven the moodier moments and fill out the noodlier ones; Sinclair’s drums propulsive when required; and Hubbert ranging across it all with complex, percussive arrangements. Jangly, first-ever single Moonunit Manual had an immediate impact and inviting accessibility, and stuck out for its allusion to a “Crossmyloof” train station mini-drama.

Yet Dig This Big Crux was subtler, slowly drawing you into its expansive and ultimately, alien soundscape. Closer Sleep Deep featured a dash of urgent, awkward guitar but elsewhere, spare sophistication too. Seldom losing the balance of their guitar and electronic influences, cerebral and playful sides, this felt like a brief but worthy retread of former glories.

Seen on 12.07.14