Live Review – Is Bliss @ The Sunflower Lounge
The Sunflower Lounge
Review by SdM
Portsmouth based shoe-gaze psychedelia rockers Is Bliss swung by The Sunflower Lounge via an inter-dimensional astral plane and whisked the audience away to tripped-out space-land. A glorious over usage (no such thing!) of wah-wah pedal, delay and all manner of gizmos gave Jimmy Stuart’s guitar all the thrust vectoring of a Ariane rocket. The magic-carpet foundation of drum and bass thundered through The Sunflower Lounge adding to the sense that you were deliriously losing your marbles.
The aural odyssey started in earnest with the guitar clattering opening of ‘Rattle’. Jimmy’s voice sounded vaguely distorted and echoed as if he was ‘phoning in from a distant place and distant time. The softer more atmospheric ‘Belong’ brought a sense of spacious floating to the proceedings. Jimmy’s voice now back, for the moment at least, in this plane blasted out the chorus with impassioned zeal. ‘I Can’t Sleep Forever’ and ‘Alive’ charmed and beguiled with strong melodic interludes, furiously dynamic edginess and increasing vocal rawness and sonic spatial latitude.
‘Truth’ threatened an assault on the senses with battering drums, low and heavy guitar and long-growled vocal bathed in barely concealed ire. ‘Inner Soul’ and ‘Someone’ alternated between charming your ears and trying to blow them off completely. Set closer ‘What To Believe’ is that band’s full speed highway ride out of Dodge complete with hefty and pacey drums and guitar wah-pedal overload. Far out, man.
There was very little in the way of audience interaction throughout except for the odd “thank you” to the audience and support bands. The band looked more intent on making the audio journey that is Is Bliss the main focus. And whilst every song was a variation on a theme of indie-rock psychedelia – well, you know what they say – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.