The Berlin Festival after party promised a bargain double header featuring Crystal Antlers and Health with support from local faves Chuckamuck, the Undertones for the under tens.
Hailing from Longbeach California, the Antlers’ sun-kissed psychedelia swooped and soared, energy levels punched up beyond stoner lassitude courtesy of Damian Edwards extroverted and omnipresent bongos. Their sound bears a passing resemblance to Animal Collective (at in least in one of there previous phases) but if the Beach Boys provide a constant reference for the latter, the Antlers muse seems to be The Byrds. That said, this was no retro fest rather a new spin on high energy chiming harmonic guitar rock from the sunshine state.
Delayed by a recalcitrant patch cable, Health finally exploded with screams of elation as opposed to angst. Whilst elements of their inspiration drifted in and out of recognition, an obligatory nod in the direction of post punk here, a schmeer of 80’s rock there, a schmidgen of Ministry and (bizarrely) at one point a fragment of early U2, their sound is ultimately their own. One of a number of fresh an exciting bands to emerge from L.A’s all ages venue, The Smell.
It’s a sound characterised by aggressive stop start discords, fragmentary riffs over a pummelling beats, screes of FX driven dissonance atop which float sweet reverb drenched vocal melodies. This sonic juggernaut is driven by the beat and each member of the band gets a turn on the floor tom or cymbal, augmenting drummer BJ’s relentless skin pounding.
Catch Health and the Antlers on video in Dorfdisco’s review of the Berlin Festival.