Few welcome the death of another London music venue. When Powerlunches closed at the end of last year, Kingsland Road lost one of its last vestiges of DIY subculture – and a thriving, inclusive scene along with it. It was in the few months before it shut its doors for good that Patrick Browne (vox/guitar), Hannah Gledhill (guitar), Jason Jaworski (drums) and Ed Shellard (bass) came together and began rehearsing in the basement of that now defunct venue, working on a clutch of material that would form the basis for their uncompromising live set and their first release: TVEP.
TVEP is an EP-length performance film. Four tracks, one take; it’s a unique idea and a neat visual representation of the band – a low-budget, pirate TV performance that captures the terse energy of their live show outside of its normal setting. There is no audience, no applause, just a Spartan performance space and the group running against the clock.
“Spiky” and “angular” are words all too often used to describe a particular type of guitar judder. Recent waves of post-punk revivalism have seen some master the form, and Aathens are no mere imitators. The film kicks off with Aspirations – a raucous, ambitious track that calls to mind Fugazi, Television and contemporaries such as Ought and Girl Band, while lyrically it finds Browne transposing the acerbic wit of Minutemen in their Reagan-era heyday to the London of now.
Aathens are a DIY band deprived of their spiritual home. An indignant restlessness permeates this release, but there is a sardonic humour in their songs and style that adds much to proceedings. TVEP is a fully realised piece of work and the opening salvo set to carve out a space for themselves in the second half of 2016.