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:: Satellites ::
20 October 2007 / Dry Bar / Manchester
By Cath Aubergine

A bit like Night & Day's chilli-cheese fries, no ITC would be complete without a trip into the borderline chaos that is the three-stage Dry Bar. A sort of car boot sale of unsigned music, piled high and sold cheap, you do sometimes have to sort through quite a pile of rubbish in order to grab the gems but previous years have seen some of the best fringe performances of the weekend in here (the LycaSleep / Second Floor "lost afternoon" of 2004; 65daysofstatic turning the basement into the engine room of a spaceship the following year). It's already sipped behind schedule downstairs by half three but SATELLITES are worth the wait.

Their downbeat, chiming guitar pop might not look like much on paper but there's a streak of contemplative beauty running through their strong melodies; the faintest hint of dark-hearted country, evoking images of lost highways. "Games We Play" has a Go-Betweens melancholy close to its heart whilst "More Than You Need" recalls those other great 80s Autsralian pioneers of thoughtful indie rock The Triffids as wel as their British counterparts The Weather Prophets. Nick's vocals are laden with introspection, the tunes full of minor chords, and even when the last track rocks up a bit into more mainstream territory it's shot through with something deeper than your average mid-afternoon guitar band. I end up talking to Nick afterwards - he's never heard of the Go-Betweens.


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