Troumaca: The Duchess, 11/10/13
Blending Caribbean rhythms with the best of UK dream pop and bass music, Birmingham’s Troumaca have hit on a live sound that is both anthemic and understated, familiar yet entirely unique, and most importantly, utterly captivating. This midlands five piece, named after a small village on the West Indian island of St. Vincent are the latest name from Birmingham to be making waves nationwide (alongside Peace and Swim Deep). Touring in support of their debut LP ‘The Grace’ (released on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Records), Troumaca’s live show brings together elements of soaring indie pop along the lines of The xx or WU LYF via pitch-shifted guitar and lofty vocals, and Lee Perry-esque dub with a blend of live and electronic percussion and bass-heavy grooves.
Frontman Sam, dressed head to toe in black, maintained a darkly charismatic stage presence. Despite rarely cracking a smile, it was clear that he was in his element. The whole band gave a performance with enough spontaneity and unpredictability to feel ‘live’, without compromising on the precision required to pull off the live electronics to their best effect. The only moment that felt choreographed was during washed-out slow burner ‘The Sun’, when the entire band stopped dead, holding their positions à la musical statues, and started moving again as the chorus dropped.
Latest single ‘The Grace’ was the most triumphant moment of the show. This was by far the best showcase of the bands talents and influences, with a deep bass hook and tinny dancehall horns, building up to a towering chorus that wouldn’t sound out of place at a sun-drenched festival. This is certainly a band made for the stage – while I couldn’t recommend enough giving their debut release a spin, the energy and charisma with which these songs are played live is what really sets this band apart from their contemporaries.