The Solo Embrace Of All Things Weird
The only thing cooler than saying “I used to be in Tame Impala” is being able to say “I’m in Tame Impala”.
Nicholas Allbrook is in the former bracket, having his Tony Chapman moment back in 2013 when departing the Aussie psychedelic rockers to “screw his head back on”. Cranium intact, Allbrook is currently performing in the UK, taking time from fronting Pond to tour his solo material.
At Hoxton’s Courtyard, a venue as quaint as it is concealed, Allbrook delivered a stripped back set armed only with a guitar and heavy doses of reverb. Tracks from his recently-released second studio album, 'Pure Gardiya', unsurprisingly made up the main body of the gig, with ‘Advance', 'Blow Up Saxophone' and 'In the Gutter by the Park and Ride' all entwined within Allbrook’s earlier material from Ganough, Wallis and Fatuna.
Allbrook's music is - given his previous releases - as obscure as you’d expect, but his solo work is much more morose to that of anything he’s recorded with Tame Impala or Pond. It’s like a peculiar rendition of Andy Shauf or Bright Eyes; definitely not the kind of music a Ben-Sherman-clad-Darren-from-Scarborough would have playing as he comes down the Take Me Out lift.
As such the gig occasionally fell a bit flat, and in these lulls you couldn’t help but think a backing band would help to rectify things. One man and a guitar is a daunting task, and even though Allbrook is a highly talented individual his musical style seems like it needs enhancing from more sound.
With last month's 'Pure Gardiya' release being Allbrook’s twelfth career album to date, it’s refreshing to have somebody in the industry produce such an eclectic range of material. Even though his show at the Courtyard wasn’t always as captivating as I hoped, anybody who pursues versatility and oddness with as much gusto as Allbrook will always be worth getting excited about.