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Fiction @ Electrowerkz, London - 25/02/2013

by AlanAshtonSmith
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on 26 February 2013 in Live
Rating 7/10

The growth of the NME Awards shows into a month-long series of gigs by both new and established bands might invite the criticism that the whole thing is a great big money-spinner that needs to be reined in a little, but it’s surely a boon for lesser known acts searching for greater exposure.

Fiction are one such band: they’ve clearly worked hard to comes as far as they have, and the blessing of the NME could be just what they need to build up their renown. Their first album, ‘The Big Other’, is about to appear on Moshi Moshi, but they’ve built up a reputation of sorts through the series of strong single releases that have preceded it. Tonight, they draw the bulk of their setlist from the album, but reveal that even though their first LP hasn’t quite reached the shops yet they have begun writing songs for a putative second, with three new and untitled tracks getting an airing.

They take a risk by opening with one of these, and while it’s a promising new song, heavier and more ominous than the material on ‘The Big Other’, it ends up becoming part of a slightly shaky beginning. It takes three tracks before they really find their feet, appropriately with ‘Step Ahead’. From here, the performance is solid, partly because the more catchy, more familiar songs – such as ‘Museum’ and ‘Big Things’ – are held back until the latter half of the set.

Fiction do a good job of keeping their faintly shimmery electro post-punk held together as a coherent package, even as their songs wander to different places. Sometimes there are guitar riffs reminiscent of recent Afropop inspired indie; on other occasions there are synth/vocal harmonies combinations that call to mind The Antlers. When they’re at their best, the guitar sounds come close to recalling the Cocteau Twins and there are a few almost rave-like elements.

Another new song acts as encore, apparently one which the band have only played a few times. It’s certainly indicative of a willingness to explore beyond their current sound, but its more distorted guitar parts – and at one point an appearance from an ebow – smother the intricacies of the music somewhat. But Fiction’s current material is all that’s needed to make for a strong show – perfect for the forthcoming festival season but equally welcome on a cold February night.

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