Live review: Tongues at La Belle Angèle

It’s an inauspicious setting for Tongues: a venue filled with old music industry types who seem to have had a long day today. Two of the band have chosen egg shakers as the first instrument they’ll play, and all in all it seems like a false start is likely. Happily, nothing could be further from the truth as they launch into You Never Knew Me, showcasing much of what makes them such an exciting and intriguing prospect. A thick groove augmented with dashes of synth and loops, and an alt-pop-perfect sense of when to choose the minor note, the opener survives the drummer losing his place and builds to a powerful climax.

What frontman and founder Tim Kwant lacks in stage banter he more than makes up for with an attention-commanding physical performance that never wavers in its intensity. Sending his vocals through a multi-effects box is just one way Tongues keep your interest piqued: they seem perpetually on the edge of a dubstep breakdown, and each of the five tracks they play contain so many elements that it seems like we’ve heard much more than we have.

Latest single Religion, basking in its 500,000 Spotify plays (“No idea how that happened,” Kwant cheerfully confesses off-stage), hits with a ruinous bassline. Heartbeat follows in the same mould but ends up in a very different place, and then Spoken For changes the feel of everything: serene, spiritual even. This is a band totally focused on doing what they want, playing with absolute conviction.

Having held us close, they take a running leap into closer and standout track, Colours In The Dark. It’s a euphoric ending, befitting a far larger stage than the one they’ve illuminated tonight.