Live Review: Soeur at Thousand Island, Highbury

Bristol-based trio Soeur are on the penultimate leg of a fortnight-long tour of the UK, and find themselves washed up at Thousand Island, a curious space in what was once known as Upstairs at The Garage but is now decked out like an amateur dramatics performance of 2001: A Space Odyssey – the ceiling appears to have been covered with silver-coated roof insulation and a galaxy of disco balls loom overhead.

It’s not perhaps the natural home for the grunge-punk three-piece, whose new EP Fight is entirely devoid of sheen and artifice; as raw and bloody an emotional experience as you’re likely to come across this year.  They’re not, however, going to let a bit of tin foil get in the way of what they came here to achieve and it’s not long before the twin vocal/guitar salvo of Tina & Anya, underpinned by the foundation of Jim’s genre-hopping drum beats, has the front row bouncing.

These are songs that pack just as strong an emotional punch as they do a distortion pedal driven battering to the aural cortex, and a very un-London-like hush spreads across the audience in the quieter moments.  These never stay beyond their welcome, but when the volume is cranked again and the beats begin to drive us ever onward, there’s always a message behind the noise – take EP title track ‘Fight’ as a case in point: written following a conversation with a soldier who’d lost faith in the cause he was fighting for, it’s a perfect metaphor for all of the things that we do that grind us down, the negative societal constructs that we buy into, and a call to us all to stop and think about how we choose to live.  And it fucking rocks.

Review and photography by Paul Maps

Listen to our interview with Soeur on The Joyzine Radio Show:

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