Live Review: JAWS @ Exeter Cavern

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James Beeson went down to KINK’s first offering of 2014 and was ever so slightly unimpressed with Birmingham’s shoegazers. 

As the latest quintessential indie group to come out of Birmingham, it is somewhat inevitable that JAWS are often compared to fellow Midlands-based psychedelic rockers ‘Peace’ and ‘Swim Deep.’ However, as proven during Exeter’s first KINK night of 2014, comparisons in musical style do not always translate to equal levels of musical ability on stage.

Whilst the likes of Swim Deep and Peace rocketed to fame during 2013, receiving widespread critical acclaim and many plaudits for their nostalgic and carefree vibes, JAWS have languished somewhat, failing to achieve any real commercial success since forming in 2012. On the back of a largely disappointing performance at Exeter’s Cavern, it is easy to see why this is the case.

Having been touted by many as ‘the band to watch’ in 2014, a large audience had already gathered by the time JAWS took to the stage, following on from a powerful support set from local sensations ‘The Big V.’ However, despite the vibrant atmosphere inside the Cavern, the band struggled to create any meaningful connection with the audience with their mysterious, laid-back and distant demeanor.

An obvious lack of interaction with the audience, combined with a lack of ‘stand-out’ anthems, meant that the majority of JAWS’ performance fell flat, although fan favourites ‘Toucan Surf’, ‘Breeze’ and ‘Gold’ were still met with delight by the youthful and exuberant crowd. Unfortunately, the band’s new material is also disappointing, with the lifeless ‘Time’ and unimaginative ‘Think too much’ not boding well for their upcoming album, set to be recorded in 2014.

It would be unduly harsh of me to criticize JAWS for a lack of talent. The surf pop quartet are clearly a band not lacking in musical aptitude, as proven by their highly impressive 2013 EP ‘Milkshake.’ Nevertheless, talent is often easily wasted, and with this rather uninspired and dreary showing on Wednesday night, Connor Schofield and co. showed exactly why they have yet failed to reach the dizzy heights achieved by their Midlands counterparts.

JAWS have an exceptional sound on record; a combination of soothing and dreamy vocals, coupled with highly catchy guitar rifts. Unfortunately, as of yet, this sound is not translated on stage, and thus the band, as a live entity, leave much to be desired.

 

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