The Zoo – Brisbane
26 June 2009

Often a rainy winters night doesn’t inspire any but the most battle hardened of gig goers round these parts, but when you have something special to celebrate then you had better make it a good one. Local boys Grand Atlantic are here tonight to launch their sophomore record, How We Survive, and with them they have brought some friends along — to play at least.

First up on tonight’s bill are The Lovers of Modern Art. Really though it’s lovers of psychedelic prog rock that should rejoice as a new band are in town. Lovers of anything else should put the bunting away and cancel the brass band. Possibly we found them on an off night as when they veered into some down and dirty blues they showed the slight flickering of real promise. Unfortunately songs like “We Can See The Morning Coming” went on for around a fortnight, like your ex-girlfriend’s hobo mate that turns up uninvited to crash for “just one night”. They sum themselves up perfectly by resorting to the last bastion of the muso — the drum solo. Maybe it was pretty harsh to wish at that moment for the drummers hands to be chopped off but I really did wonder for a fleeting second if I’d ever see my yet to be conceived grandkids grow up.

We All Want To fair better with their dream pop harmonies infected shoegaze. Its clear that Broken Social Scene records are on heavy rotation round their parts but anyone can be forgiven if that’s their only criticism. Possibly slightly gimmicky but it raised a smile to have the band end the set with half the band playing drums regiment style. We’re a sucker for gimmicks, and we’re a sucker for We All Want To.

Tonight’s main attraction though are local upstarts Grand Atlantic. It’s a regular friends of band occasion but really that doesn’t detract from the boys putting on a good set. It seems that most of the crowd here are already pretty familiar with the words to most of the new songs, with a set drawing heavily from their new long player.

They have a very British feel, slightly derivative but with a new slant on the old Beatles/Oasis trend of a decade ago. Not ones to throw angular shapes the boys here strive to find the right notes and the majority of the time they hit them. When they slow it down for “How We Survive” is where the boys lose their rhythm but that doesn’t last long and with “She’s a Dreamer” show that really they should be playing to a much bigger audience than this.

Taking mid period U2 as a reference point Grand Atlantic are aiming a lot higher than playing clubs. Their sound fleshed out and bigger would be as recognisable played here as it would to a huge stadium crowd. Whether they are good enough is another matter but they’re not that far off judging by tonight. “Used to be the Sensitive Type” hits all the right notes and the front row sure know a glam stomper when they hear one.

Probably not winning many new fans, with the majority here in attendance tonight already members of that group, but on this performance we can hope to hear a lot more from these guys. On tonight’s evidence, however high Grand Atlantic are aiming on taking their music, you wouldn’t bet against them getting there.