Disarray Son

support Mutt´s Company
author TL date 23/01/16 venue Huset, Copenhagen, DEN

For a few years now, the quartet Disarray Son has been one of the better kept secrets of the Copenhagen music scene, popping up here and there with lively, tightly performed and surprisingly well-visited concerts, yet so far only having a five track EP from last year as their only available record (reviewed here). Yet recently the band has been at work on a new record, and having been absent from the live circuit for several months, tonight's show at Huset is both a testing ground for new songs and a way to reconnect with fans. The even younger and even more unaccomplished Mutt's Company - who seem to have no recorded music online to be checked out - have been brought along to support, giving us an opportunity to get an early taste of some more local talent.

All photos courtesy of philipbh.com

Mutt's Company

As the four members of Mutt's Company take to the stage, Huset is already relatively busily populated, with most guests seated around the venue's cafe tables and others on the steps of the elevated floor that line the back of the wide room. Yet right off the bat, the band's seemingly limited experience on stage is evident, as their request to have people step closer is delivered too weakly for anyone to be swayed, so for starters, the group plays to a seated crowd.

The young group has time for about six songs, showcasing different corners of an expression they don't seem to have finished defining quite yet. Their style is seemingly torn between the personalities of their two guitarists, one in checkered shirt and messy hair, singing lead with a smokey, soul'n'roll voice that echoes Joe Cocker and Rival Sons' Jay Buchanan, the other in a smart blazer, fiddling with a pedal board and alternating between a Fender Jazzmaster and a keyboard that all scream 'indie' with their very appearance. The first couple of songs leave an impression as simplistic, riff-centric vintage rockers, with the singer showing off a strong voice yet not the clearest articulation. As the band introduces following songs as 'a pop song' or 'a ballad', though, the second guitarist increasingly adds in noisy flourishes and pedal effects that borrow from shoegaze and noise pop, which by the end of the set makes for some of the most interesting songs - particularly the final one, titled "Radar", if memory serves.

Regrettably for Mutt's Company, it's only by that last song that their requests to have people on their feet are finally met, and while some musical chops are apparent, it's clear that there's some work yet to be done on both the expression and the live presentation. Keep an eye on them perhaps, though, looking for whether they successfully merge their influences when they release some recorded material, and for whether they loosen up and perform with some more confidence and energy in future live shows. If so, there are higher marks ready to be claimed.

6

Disarray Son

At the end of the changeover, Huset has filled up decently, with the floor fully populated as Disarray Son step on stage, to the point where if there were more guests, troubles with seeing anything and feeling comfortable with your personal space would definitely be a thing. A good crowd stands ready then, as the band sets out, yet as actively as they rock out while performing the introductory riffs, they clearly play through some distraction that sets in as soon as it's time for vocals, because for the first few songs there's distinct high-pitched feeding from one or more of the mics.

This creates a bit of a casual distance between band and audience, and instead of being drawn in entirely by Disarray Son's deliciously detailed, interwoven guitar patterns, people feel the grooves more casually, with many not feeling ashamed to converse audibly during the performance. And that's a bit of a shame, because the songs, both the ones we know and the new ones aired, definitely have potential to more fully hypnotize. The band's sound - sort of a laid-back mix of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Raconteurs and perhaps The Strokes, with drawn out, textured vocal lines that remind of Chris Cornell or Eddie Vedder - is elusively gimmick-free, yet possesses a very pure and understated rock'n'roll coolness that tugs at both ears and hips and already feels ready for bigger shows with more devoted audiences.

It's not that the technical issues aren't remedied, though; they are, somewhere around the third song. And it's not that Disarray Son don't present themselves with noticeably more confidence than their support; they do, with Mads Kieler, in particular, leaning into every strum of his guitar with contagious energy, and with frontman Anders Friis introducing songs in a friendly, unrehearsed manner. And while the mix isn't in the super-powered realm you wish for this band, it does showcase drummer Lauge Heebøll's backing vocal harmonies, which have otherwise often drawn the short straw at prior concerts.

"Gold Labeled Love" gets some singing along to its catchy chorus tonight, while "Born In Two" becomes a bit of a highlight as the band drags it out into some extended jamming, where bassist Mathias Skyttä sets up nicely for some nice riffing from Kieler. And as for the new songs aired, they seemingly retain Disarray Son's touch and personality as we know it so far, and although they seem a tad simple around the choruses, the band's refrains have proven to be growers before. In any case, the overall performance is solid, if hindered access to the promised land by the initial feedback issues and relatively casual attitude from the audience. People of all ages still groove throughout the venue, whether directly looking at the band or just chilling in the back, with smiles and satisfaction seemingly the responses that dominate the room.

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