You may remember mobileAct unsigned as T4’s awful indie-X-Factor show with an amusing twist. The twist being that it managed to be more embarrassing for the presenters (hello Alex James, Jo Whiley and Simon Gavin) than for the acts involved. The eventual winners were the Birmingham-based Envy & Other Sins; a likeable quartet of Victoriana-clad gents and the evening’s headliners.The first band of the evening announced that it would be The Companions (for t’was they)’s last gig. This caused me some mild consternation because they sounded good – far too good to be splitting up in fact. It turns out the band are called The Carter Manoeuvre and adopted the other name for one night only. Whatever they call themselves I’d urge you to check them out.
Ditto the next couple of bands on the bill. Despite enjoying an impromptu Birmingham Live! meet-up my ears kept pricking up to to The Hoop Group‘s slightly groove-flecked indie/rock stylings and Telegramme‘s more aggressive sound. It was barely 10pm and I’d found three decent Midlands-based bands to keep in mind. Things were looking good.
By the time Envy & Other Sins took the stage the support acts had left and apparently taken their guestlist allocations with them, leaving noticeable gaps in the reportedly sold-out venue. I’d be narked at this but given that they missed a great show I’m more inclined to pity the fools.
Envy & Other Sins announced that for the first (and possibly last) time they would play their forthcoming album ‘We Leave At Dawn’ through in its entirety. The slightly depleted crowd (including a fair few older family members if I’m not mistaken) fully appreciated a set of melodic, hook-strewn tunes delivered with charm and panache.
Their material was almost all entirely new to me but I picked out current single ‘Highness’, ‘Step Across’ and ‘Talk To Strangers’ as memorable highlights in a set of consistently high quality. Certainly I was impressed enough to have marked the album’s release date (31 March) on my calendar.
What’s more, they proved themselves to be genuinely nice guys; hanging about and chatting with fans after the show, signing items for charity and posing gamely for any number of photos. I left feeling unnaturally positive about Birmingham’s homegrown scene and hoping that Envy can build on their success and shine a little light back on where they’ve come from.