Pianos Become The Teeth has a strange power bestowed upon them. Their music, built on the foundations of devastation and earnest, has the power to bring up the most repressed of memories and let them spill out without a second’s notice. The bands latest magnum opus ‘Keep You’ is barely a year old and still it manages to inspire, ignite and exorcise the deepest and darkest of devils from your being. So be it that after a stint in the mainland of Europe that they find themselves in foggy London town for a quick stop off in Central at Scala. Best make the most of them then.
First up though are Hindsights, who have single-handedly carved the most perfect example of ‘sadcore’ this side of the ‘10s. Now with the addition of a second guitarist and vocalist Benio Baumgar taking up sole singing duties, the band are in high spirits in comparison to their desolating sultry sound. ‘Cold Walls’ and ‘Out Of My Skull’ receive the most agreeing head nods from the congregation and the general consensus is one of positive melancholy. (3/5)
Milk Teeth follow and coat the stage in a thick and abrasive cloud of feedback and nostalgia. Their thoroughly ’90s sound echoes through the venue with a streak of danger but also a substantial splattering of anxious wanting, with ‘Vitamins’ grooving with piercing edge and ‘Trampoline’ biting with retro angst. All in all, this is another impressive showing from a band that continues to go from strength to billowing strength. (3.5/5)
It’s the main event that truly steals the limelight though. Opening with a touching and tender ‘Hiding’ Pianos are instantly in shirt- and skin-tugging form. With a set heavily filled with ‘Keep You’ cuts, the general mood of the room is one of dissonance but also sentiment. There is a certain release from watching this band perform. One feels the same waves of drained and derailed sadness that only the loss of a loved one can trigger channel from the stage though to the back of room, forming a shared euphoric bond. As ‘Enamor Me’ leaks into a delicate ‘895’ and a tear-wiping ‘Ripple Water Shine’ blends beautifully into a pulsing and vital ‘April’ the band noticeably become more and more consumed by their own art. It is impossible to look away and it is a pleasure to be a part of.
After a chaotically rich throwback to ‘I’ll Get By’ rings out, it’s now that the true effect of Pianos seems to come into effect. A damaging ‘Late Lives’ and inch-perfect and spine-tracing rendition of ‘Repine’ sees the crowd fall into a comfort zone of their own. Couples hold each other for support. Friends grasp one and other in an attempt to stay stable. A tear or two is shed into a pint or two and voices ring out with a shaky pride and a whole-hearted sense of defiance. Moments like these encapsulate what Pianos Become The Teeth is about; never giving up in the face of adversity and knowing that you are never alone no matter how much it feels as though you are. As the band round their time on stage up in a cloud of smoke to a carefully tingling ‘Say Nothing’ and leave into the night, what they have just achieved lingers hot and heavy in the air. Very few bands can touch the surface of perfection in the unpredictable live environment but Pianos Become The Teeth are the closest thing you will find. See this band and face your demons. (5/5)
Words by Jack Rogers (@JackMRog)