NEWS

Review: Thyla – 10/10/19 – The Cluny, Newcastle

22/10/2019

Thyla are a particularly interesting band. Labels like ‘indie pop’ and ‘indie rock’ are easy to stick and cover some incredibly vague genres, meaning the terms can be reductive for many bands flying the broad ‘indie’ banner. Thyla, however, manage to stand with one foot squarely in each genre – and tonight they’re standing in The Cluny, to give a live demonstration in what both genres truly mean.

Opening for Thyla were Sunderland locals Noyou, whose six members crowded onto the small stage to play a short and synth-laden set. Performing a mix of older and newer songs, Noyou already had a loyal, core group of fans standing front and centre to keep songs like ‘The Distance’ and ‘Another Going Under’ feeling lively and well-received.

After a brief equipment changeover, Thyla bounced onto the stage. The Brighton quartet have turned local hype into rapt national attention, and are rapidly building a sizeable fanbase to match their momentum. This is Thyla’s first headline tour, and it feels exciting for both band and audience alike.

The setlist begins with ‘Only Ever’, and is a good place to start for new listeners to Thyla. It’s dreamy and cathartic, similar to 2017 hit ‘Ferris Wheels’ –  which they play later. Both songs show that even their gentler songs have an electrifying undercurrent of power to them when played live. The driving force in each song is diverse, but there are some constants that come together to make a winning formula.

A sincere Pixies-esque quiet/loud dynamic between the two guitarists forms the staple for many of Thyla’s hits. The crunchy, distorted rhythm is an intimidating and loud backdrop to the softer lead guitar that keeps each song firmly grounded in dream-pop. The pounding drums are the backbone to the gig, and each sharp thump cracks through the noise of both guitars with ease.

To top it off, vocalist and frontwoman Millie Duthie has a voice that can turn from shimmering to ferocious in a moment. The switch between sleepy nonchalance to passionate screams makes songs like ‘Blame’ and ‘Two Sense’ explosive lessons in indie-rock done right.  ‘Blue’ is one of Thyla’s catchiest hits, and the high-tempo chorus makes for a spectacular performance in The Cluny.

Thyla transition from studio to live flawlessly, and with their on-stage cohesion it’s hard to believe that this is their first headlining tour. Their time spent supporting bands across the country seems to have paid off, and the group play incredibly well together.

Very few mistakes (including an admittedly amusing near-fall into a drum kit) gives Thyla’s live music a natural sound, but avoids damaging the polish that’s come from years of practice. The up and coming momentum of Thyla is palpable, and leaves the audience feeling lucky to have caught them so early in their career. While most of their songs are dreamy and whimsical, seeing Thyla live is an opportunity to hear an edge of aggression that lies barely bottled beneath the easy listening of their studio recordings.

words: Andrew Brown

Photos: OLI HOWES

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