Daniel O’Sullivan and Alexander Tucker – that’s Grumbling Fur to you sonny – have garnered immense kudos during 2013 for their acid synth folk odyssey Glynnaestra, so it was truly righteous to see them in such fine form in front of a packed and appreciative crowd at Café Oto.
On record, Grumbling Fur’s sound crosses faded synth washes and elegiac melodies with a kind of queasy psychedelia that’s indebted to Coil’s dark magick. Listening to it I often feel a kind of trippy tension, like wondering through a grimy, hallucinatory landscape while something sinister and horrible lurks at the edges of my vision.
I was curious to see how the duo would shape up live. Initial YouTube research wasn’t that encouraging. Footage of previous gigs showed two studious looking blokes, seated, fiddling with knobs.
That’ll learn me, won’t it? It was actually bloody great. Café Oto’s petite but powerful PA gave the chaps a chance to chunk up the beats and jettisoning the nightmarish magickal voyaging for a sinuous wobbling groove that shook the rain off our shoulders and offset the duo’s violin and e-bowed guitar drones perfectly.
An early salvo of ‘Protogenesis’, ‘Dancing Light’ and ‘The Ballard Of Roy Batty’ was marvellously burbling and funky. ‘Dancing Light’ in particular set me off on some kind of MDMA-style grinning rush despite having only ingested a jug of strong coffee, a lamb casserole and half a lager earlier in the evening.
The band’s onstage affable presence and some sly between-song chat helps build the love as well, although I can’t possibly repeat their Charlemagne Palestine anecdote.
There were some new – or at least unfamiliar – songs to whet our taste for Grumbling Fur’s next phase. ‘Golden Simon’ was a delight, with a synth line that sounded like it was written by an impressively stern lady in charge of a roomful of men in white coats operating computers the size of fridges.
‘Double Man’, meanwhile, was a dubby wonder, the half time beats and echoes putting a brake on our inner city pressure and strife and sending us home with a bounce in our brains and a shaft of hazy sunshine in our hearts.