Modulus III, Emily Breeze @ The Hen and Chicken, Bristol, 08/03/2019

Emily BreezeThere’s so much to say about Emily Breeze. She's played drums for country outfit Howlin' Lord and had rave reviews as Candy Darling. Cigarettes by the fire escape tonight reveal she's knackered from lugging her gear up two flights of stairs and how great it would be if the sprinkler system could piss vodka, mid show. It's also National Woman’s Day and she doesn’t give a shit (a confession you hear later, on stage). Tonight, Emily Breeze releases her second single "Ego Death" from forthcoming album, Rituals.

The Hen & Chicken isn’t the most renowned music venue in Bristol, but it's a big space and the room has a healthy head count as support act Modulus III take the stage. They champion improvisation with swirling catastrophes of noise, at times offset by deep, emotive strings. As the group moves from one song to the next, pulsating rhythms become more erratic, reacting wildly to synth grooves as if a musical chemistry set is boiling on the verge of exploding. By the time they reach their grand finale the group has taken you on a journey that's rich in panic and euphoria; through inspired musicianship that incredibly is unrehearsed. As synth extraordinaire Drew Morgan explains to the crowd: "We've an album for sale, though it won't sound like tonight."

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Emily Breeze oozes into the night with spectacular shoegaze fashion. She croons, relaxed and dangerous as her band unite over harmonies and modern indie sounds that scream smeared lipstick and graffiti squalor. That so, there's no junked up playing tonight, just great wonder in the melancholy darkness of Breeze's songs as they crookedly wrap around the group's ambient, gothic opus.

“Ego Death” is a 30-something's mid-life-crisis with anecdotes of every day chores and bores in the grind of modern society. It's this poetic empathy that connects with the crowd as explosions of synth and guitar light up the spaces between; and they need to, as Breeze's vocals soar through the pandemonium.

There’s a near sell-out crowd supporting the group tonight. Spellbound by Breeze's charisma and helpless to her songwriting craft; songs that brood trash and menace, playing out in the style of a post-punk, 50s-diner duke box. The grooves and style of the decade are brought into the modern age via alternative rock, coerced from gothic tales that eclipse modern society (and a dazzling red sequin dress). Though under her name, they are very much a band and while Breeze lyrically spits the highs and lows of society and life's great bond, the band know when to go wild and when to retreat to make the songs unique and relatable. Her music is accessible to a wider audience than her image depicts, and that's arguably why she's currently getting a lot of radio play. Still, the group look effortlessly rock'n'roll as they give Buddy Holly's "Raining In My Heart" an alternative lease of life.. Now someone call her a limousine, there's nothing tragic about this queen.

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