16 Oct 2015

Chastity Belt, the Victoria, Oct 15 2015

I am not a music critic. To suggest that would make me one of those people who believe they could be a chef because they ‘eat food three times a day…’ What I do from time to time however, is write up a band on here after they’ve blown me away either on record, live, or both.

Such is the case with Julia Shapiro, Lydia Lund, Annie Truscott and Gretchen Grimm. They are Chastity Belt. Having toured the States extensively and now Europe for the first time, the band played last night to a packed room of around 150 fans in Dalston. For now in the UK at least, they’re still a well-kept secret. Going on last night’s performance, that is about to change. Playing material mostly from the recent Time To Go Home album, with a few from debut No Regerts, we were also treated to a couple of new songs – confirming that they’ve accomplished that unenviable task of honing a unique sound that is at the same time rooted in that of the best alternative guitar bands.

Guitarists Julia and Lydia, with Annie on bass and drummer Gretchen, met in Washington, later moving to Seattle. Their label Hardly Art suggest a genuine DIY ethic at the genesis of their music – playing local parties to perfect songs which have evolved from the more garage sounding Debut to tracks like Drone, which they opened with. This constant playing and touring has paid off no end, as there were points during the gig where the band were so on The One that James Brown would have said goddamn...

Though often referenced as being semi-sarcastic, cool (ugh) or ironic in their lyrics and subject matter, there is a true balance of songwriting/musicianship and fun in the songs and in the personalities of the band. Though an obvious amount of legwork has been put in, Chastity Belt have hit the ground running. It’s as though they’ve been playing for as long as any other well-seasoned guitar band you can think of.

With more and more well-deserved recognition - including from those in the know – I can only hope that album three is incoming sooner rather than later. God knows how much better they can get but you can bet I’ll be there to see it.