Adrian Cooper has been unwell

Old reviews that are no longer available online, or from sites that no longer exist. The pen is dead, long live the camera.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Preston School Of Industry
the Garage, Highbury

”Under the pavement, the beach” cried the situationists in 60’s Paris. Well, jump forward 30 years and in North London the cries haven’t changed all that much. “Under the Pavement, the Stairs”, or rather the Spiral Stairs, for Scott Kannberg, as he known to his parents, is back. The man responsible for all that fidgety frat-rock noise in Pavement has returned with a new group, but has thankfully brought some familiar sounds with him.

Like Stephen Malkmus before him, Kannberg has left the archetypal lo-fi indie rockers behind, and come back sounding like nothing’s actually changed. But then that’s the root of the Preston’s appeal. Everyone’s here because they loved Pavement, so no one is going to complain that there are no obvious differences on show. As the jagged and jarring guitars mix with undertones of 70’s rawk and a subtle country twang it becomes apparent that this isn’t so much a revolution as a matter of trademark sounds being slanted and transplanted onto a new band. Instead of a first date with an unknown stranger, tonight feels more like an emotional reunion of old friends.

Whether it’s a matter of catharsis or just an opportunity to set the record straight, it seems that Kannberg wants to make that we know how he feels about the whole Pavement situation on ‘Whale Bones’ (“I don’t want you to feel bad”) and ‘Follow The Sun’ (“I know that you like us”). As he launches into the Dinosaur Jr. aping new single, ‘Falling Away’, Scott Kannberg’s role in life becomes clear. Spiral Stairs has come back to save good old-fashioned college rock. He’s going to take it back to where it belongs, at school. And not just any old school, but at the Preston School of Industry.