Trim the Barber – a cut above

Trim The Barber

Trim The Barber. Photograph: Elyssa Iona

Digital media has usurped the real and the tangible. The government ring our necks and bleed us dry and conflicting feelings stifle the breeze as East Londoners prepare for the Olympic onslaught.

Weighing up emotion and politics in equal measure, Trim the Barber are an ironclad four-piece with a social conscience. Refusing to pander to trends, where their chosen moniker may be misleading – a jovial attempt at namechecking dub master King Tubby –their anger fuelled, effects laden outpourings are by no means frivolous and ably channel the sense of despair felt by many in these strange, unsettling times.

They cling fast to hefty, snarling sonics and thread melodic Wire-esque post-punk grooves through the aesthetic clout of A Place to Bury Strangers. “Words for rainy days,” offers guitarist/vocalist Ramsay Cooper, an idea quite at odds with the current sunny spell but one which nonetheless depicts the band’s uncompromising mien.

Bassist/vocalist Matthew Potter and guitarists Patrick Banks and Ramsay Cooper are school friends who fled the Home Counties for London to flex their creative muscles. They met drummer Jonas Duus last year “late one misty evening” and he was impelled to leave Copenhagen and come on board as the final percussive piece in the Trim the Barber puzzle.

Much to the dismay of their neighbours, they now reside and practice together in a “cosy” house in Lower Clapton, where Ramsay says they “share a wholesome love of chatting complete and utter gibberish for extended periods of time.”

On Monday 9 April the band will self-release a new, eponymous, four-track EP which has been a long time coming. And they’ve got a serious axe to grind, with song titles like Occupation, Digitalis, Reality and Autocue. On the surface it’s a stark, utilitarian record, which yokes the minimalism of post-punk with a florid, psychedelic core and where whirring clouds of Swervedriver ready distortion and delay set your teeth on edge at ear-splitting volume.

Not surprisingly, they hold Cocteau Twins, Coil and (just to throw a spanner in the works) Felt, in high esteem. They’ve been playing sweatboxes for nearing a year – including a recent Widowspeak support slot in Hoxton and a chaotic show at Biddle Brothers on Lower Clapton Road – and their live carry-ons come with a wall of sound which is not for the faint hearted.

Next up on the agenda is recording the album but what is their ultimate goal, according to Matt? “To create a strong body of work that lasts. Oh and the slightly sadistic notion of destroying peoples’ eardrums with treble is also quite appealing.”

Trim the Barber play Fierce Panda’s Bamboozled night at the Bull & Gate (Kentish Town) on 18 April.

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