Dublin magazine-turned-promoter Foggy Notions specialise in bringing over newcomers to these shores, experimenters and oddballs, the kind of “so indie you haven’t heard of them yet” up-and-comers you may be telling your friends about in 6 month’s time (Beach House and Grizzly Bear are past examples).
Tonight’s guests, AU, are no exception. They’re very fond of the kind of chanting vocals and rich, reverb-heavy sounds not unfamiliar to fans of Grizzly and Animal Collective, but with noticeably less adherence to pop structures than either. They consist of two members, Luke Wyland and Dana Valatka – the former, whose brainchild the band is, plays what seems like as many instruments as possible – keyboard, sampler, lap steel, vocals – while the latter complements with dexterous, fluid drumming (and occasional xylophone for good measure).
Their compositions are often drone-based - simple chord changes underlying a head-spinning variety of textures and ideas, as on the gleefully manic standout from excellent recent album Verbs ‘rr vs dd’ - and tend to build from slow, echoey atmospherics to multi-layered, cacophonous noise jams. As impressive as this is – and the drumming in particular is magnificent – it becomes a little predictable: it feels like the band are in such a rush to bring each song to a frenzied peak, they lose some subtlety along the way.
However, what they lose in depth and dynamics (there are only two of them after all, and it might be a bit much to expect a replication of the orchestral, choral arrangements on record) they mostly gain in energy and pure fun. The final rendition of ‘Are Animals’ sees them inviting friends and audience members onstage to help play drums, resulting in the delightful spectacle of seven people bashing away on the same kit while people outside in the street look up at the windows, wondering what the hell is going on above.