Document // Sapphire Blues // Jack King – The Lanes, 17/08/21

Returning for the first time since the world began to end, I was drawn to the Lanes last Tuesday by the promise of noise and sleaze that radiated from the three towering bands on this equally towering bill. With this double usage of the word ‘towering’, it should be clear that I was not disappointed.

Up first, Jack King presents a morbid mix of low pitched vocals above a viscous meter. It’s a sound that, through its aural invocation of a roadtrip through a mountain-rimmed desert landscape fringed with dusk and peppered with pissy truck stops, appropriately reflects the isolation one experiences when coming to gigs for review purposes and sitting in the smoking area on your own between sets like a loser. Or so I’ve heard because that’s never ever happened to me, ever. 

Next up are Sapphire Blues, and it becomes quickly apparent they are not a blues band. With a syringe full of rhythms tight enough to be vacuum-packed and chaotic nearly Jam-adjacent riffs they perform a grubby injection of energetic sleaze directly into my circulatory system. Raucous is very much the word, and with the stage lights glowing blue and the smoke machine going “bsssssh” the Lanes starts looking, sounding and smelling like a Laser Quest hosting an aggressive punk stag weekend amidst concurrent societal collapse. 

Thundering and galloping onto the stage like the five horsemen of the apocalypse, Document dispense paranoid visions of society almost reminiscent of Cold War-era ambient suspicion. Tinged with noir and oozing with an infectious original recipe post-punk swagger, Document onstage are as monolithic and serrated as the biggest, rustiest bread knife you might find at the end of any metropolitan graffiti-panelled alleyway. A highlight of the evening is “Uncle Sam’s Daughter”, taken from their ferocious 2020 EP “A Camera Wanders All Night”. Starting a touch more delicately than the others up to this point with its darkly mysterious guitar intro, cantering percussion is brought up from the depths to add an intense brooding energy. Right from the get go drummer Will Smith’s octopus-like coverage of his toms is a sight to behold, and as the song develops, the duelling sustain and crunch of guitarists Josh Frank and Charlie Marriott and frontman Alex Evans’ guttural damnations and hypnotic gyrations is literally music to my ears. The song melts away into rising waves of warped and deranged guitar noise, punctured by occasional bursts of what sounds like a drum machine before blending seamlessly into their next song. I left with a profound sense that we’re all doomed, which is nothing new, but nonetheless consoled that there were spaces and sounds in which I could submerge myself in ruin and desolation like the darkest, stickiest treacle. Chef’s kiss, mwah.

Words: Ed Hambly // Photos: Kate Samsara

Document’s 2020 EP ‘A Camera Wanders All Night’ can be purchased and streamed via Bandcamp.

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