I hate bands that are predictable, but you knew I was going to say that. So, what’s the opposite of predictable? Unexpected, random, surprising? Armchair Committee? They are pretty much musical shorthand for any of those terms. It may be fairly easy to describe the band in broad terms, dark, bluesy riffs which wander between the intense and the desolate like a dystopian, steam-punk western soundtrack mixed with brooding grunge urges and gothic-Americana shroud. But if it is easy to describe the mechanics behind the music, the end result of twisting these genres to their will is a harder task to put into words.
At one extreme Thinking Again is a fractured soul searching journey built of shards of guitar, plaintive piano drenched in a heavy melancholy and Monarch in The Townhouse wanders as close to a growling, slow burning mainstream ballad as they are likely to get (don’t worry it isn’t particularly close and by the end of the song they would have totally destroyed the chart system anyway.) At the other the thunderous pulse of Virginia Creeper and the staccato cascades which define The Poisoning of Queen Bona explore a deep musical ferocity and barely restrained fervoured tensions which goth and metal bands might think is their domain but Armchair Committee are happy to prove them wrong and re-appropriate such lush musical treasures.
And if those would-be creatures of the night and testosterone driven Buffy fans want to know where they are going wrong then they just need to listen to a song like No One Will Ever Believe You, skittering dynamics, soul wrenching melodies, a groove so deep and dark it sounds like a sat-nav voice guiding you through the seventh circle of hell, earnestness, energy, emotion, excitement and lots of other words from other parts of the dictionary.
Armchair Committee once again prove that power and ferocity are about more than just playing loud and fast, of how many notes you can play or if you are wearing the right band t-shirt, they know that it is about putting not only your heart, but your very soul into the songs. And if Armageddon comes and the fallen angels have one last battle with the guardians of heaven, you will probably find these guys playing the after party.