The Preatures @ FBI Social, Sydney 28/06/13
A while ago in a separate review, I talked about how I felt that some musicians find both authenticity and traditionalism to be highly sought after traits. After pondering this statement further, I realised that such an approach can often leave an act very exposed, reliant on sheer technical talent and the bare bones of the music and genre. That is to say if you’re going to try to highlight the staples of a genre rather than trying to do anything particularly new, then you had better be freaking tight. Having recently seen The Preatures as part of the FBI social last week with all this swirling around my head, I was surprised to see not only everything I’d hoped, but also while tapping into several different genres as well. Touring their newly released single ‘Is This How You Feel?’ with sold out shows, The Preatures mix upbeat funky rhythms sitting below great rock and roll leads and solos with Motownesque vocals and melodies into what has been described as ‘gothic soul’.
The Preatures are a relatively new band out of Sydney and with a few tunes now under their belt and the previously mentioned single receiving a fair bit of airplay, The Preatures are starting to make some waves; if you haven’t heard them before you should probably get onto that.
In light of their small catalogue, the crowd was treated to a few new songs, among which ‘Cruel’ captured me most as it beautifully incorporated everything I’ve been talking about. The engaging high-range vocals of front woman Isabella Mandfrei mixes seamlessly with the bold baritone of Gideon Bensen, who in turn lays down a dynamic, almost punk-inspired riff as foundation for Jack Moffitt’s more conventionally schooled rock leads to play around. All this is underpinned by the driving, funky undertones of the rhythm section, Tom Champion (Bass) and Luke Davison (Drums). It wasn’t really until the second half of their set that they played the songs that people have come to love. But that didn’t stop the crowd moving to every beat in the packed confines of the top floor of the Kings Cross Hotel. It wasn’t until after the closing notes of ‘Cruel’ had settled into the ether that the sultry introduction to the newly released ‘Revelation’ made its way to my ears.
I really like this song as it really allows Manfredi to really show off her vocal chops. She restrains herself beautifully; never going to over-the-top which I feel would detract from her mournful, well rounded lyrics. After that all bets were off – once ‘Pale Rider’ and ‘Is This How You Feel?’ came out, the crowd stepped up their energy level and the band was feeding off it beautifully. While their set was only just over an hour, I don’t think anyone in that venue went home disappointed. The Preatures managed to pull off their balancing act very nicely. Taking great classic sounds from a couple of different genres and blending them seamlessly to put together something of a sonic scrapbook of some of the best things in rock-and-roll from the past fifty years is no small feat. Furthermore, I think there’s a real space for The Preatures in today’s musical landscape. In an era where muted synth-pop/rock seems to dominate, there’s definitely a niche to be carved by a band that seems to know their instruments and each other very well, making for a very impressive and tight performance. As long as The Preatures keep putting out strong, eclectic tunes with a compelling and vigorous delivery, I’m sure to keep listening.