Lovely Wife – Live & Contrived [EP Review]

Lovely Wife LiveThere are a lot of bands out there that like to use the fact that they are a “live band” as a staple, like that places them above and beyond anyone else. Then there are bands like Lovely Wife, whose sound is so wildly abstract that trying to translate what they do into a studio recording just doesn’t do them justice.

And so, Lovely Wife have this live EP, consisting of 3 recordings of their 2016 performances. Each of the three tracks last half an hour on average, and within that time span, only the one show kind of managed to feature 2 songs (in that they took 2 seconds to introduce themselves as being Lovely Wife over some wailing feedback 16 minutes into the Brixton set). Verses and choruses do not exist here, neither do any real lyrics to sing along to. Not to say that there isn’t any rhythm, but Lovely Wife are all about creative noise utilising just a drummer and a bass player/vocalist.

The three shows are from Cosmic Carnage in Brixton, Bar Loco in Newcastle, and the Northumberland Arms, Newcastle. The closest comparison I could make is to Child Abuse, who do a similar thing with the addition of a keyboard, but even then, they can easily bash out a series of decipherable songs. Lovely Wife take things even further, and create some amazing sounds and effects between the duo, with an additional guitarist and vocalist in certain shows.

Somehow, across 90 minutes there are very few sections that feel like they have been repeated between performances. Most of the sets are fairly slow in pace, but there are moments, such as two thirds of the way into the Brixton performance, when things completely hit off into a mosh-friendly-frenzy. Which is the only problem this release has.

Even though, as mentioned, Lovely Wife are best captured live, the recordings aren’t of professional, high-budget quality, which isn’t something that would normally put me off greatly, but with following such lengthy listens this could put off some people. But most of all, I can’t shake the feeling of how much better these would be to experience live, in person. So, this may be more of an advertisement to get off your arse and see these guys play? No idea, but either way, I hope enough people buy this to fund an even better recording of a single show! That would be awesome, although I may be being a little too hopeful there…

Basically, if you like arty, creative, noisy and completely different music that is way out there, this is your prime opportunity to see what Lovely Wife are about. But as for a serious release, it may just be that live audio doesn’t kick it for me, but… I can’t say I would give this many more listens than I did to write this.

Rating: 7.3/10

Jake Hancke – 09/02/2017

Live & Contrived will be available late February 2017 from Inverted Grim-Mill Recordings. [Update: Limited CDRs available now on Bandcamp]

You can find more on Lovely Wife on their Facebook and Twitter pages, and check out their other music on Soundcloud.

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