At Cinespace, July 11
I wanted to fall in love last Tuesday. I braved my way through a sweaty hive of hipsters, desperate for the stomach punch of lusty obsession. I admit, I was on the prowl, seeking my sonic soulmate in the form of a British foursome, the Scanners.
The stage at Cinespace was buttressed with dozens of languid floor-sitters patiently awaiting this first-ever American appearance, but the seated scenesters were unceremoniously trampled the moment the moddish imports timidly skulked onstage. All cheekbones and snarls, the Scanners then viciously ripped into a riff-heavy version of “Joy,” the opening track from still-wet release Violence Is Golden. In less capable hands, the tunes could have settled into a block of formulaic indie rock, but lead vocalist/bassist Sarah Daly, howling through a shroud of heavy black bangs, steadily unfurled just the type of rock charisma that morning-after daydreams are made of. Her emotions unbridled, Daly gasped for air at the mike, fitfully hammering the stage with her combat boots and modulating her voice between smoky melodicism and vexed banshee howls. It was clearly her raw appeal that kept the crowd attentively randy, though the remainder of the band delivered an earnestly solid, though not fully groundbreaking, performance. Amina Bates, cigarette balanced between her lips and alternating between a melancholic synth and squealing guitar, at times matched the passion of her front woman, but the band’s two chaps, lead guitarist Matthew Mole and drummer Tom Hutt, regrettably lacked the fury of their female bandmates.
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Closing with the chilling harmonies and abrasive mania of “Changing Times,” the Scanners left me cursing my lofty expectations, and dizzied with the conflict of being impressed and disappointed at once. I suppose I wanted the rush of an elopement, but left instead with a rather sizable crush. Which, I concede, ain’t too bad for a Tuesday night.