Easyworld / The Upper Room

Reading Fez, 18.2.04

Easyworld formed in late 2000, a result they say of being the only musicians in geriatric haven Eastbourne not to be in Toploader, thus making them the only decent musicians in Eastbourne. Since bursting onto the indie scene, Easyworld's sound has progressed from eyeliner-friendly, glam-pomp, emotionally charged power pop and has recently matured into fully formed epic rock as showcased on their second full-length album Kill The Last Romantic.

The Upper Room amble onstage around 9pm and do very little to steal the show from the headliners. There's aspects of the Smiths, the Stone Roses and more recent tunesmiths such as Starsailor in their sound, and although it's hard to fault them, there's nothing overly spectacular about the outfit. Black and White is the best of the bunch, but the rest of the band's set is fairly bland, MOR rock. And let's face it do we really need any more 'melodic rock' bands?

Easyworld arrive onstage and launch into the dreamy title track of their most recent LP. They inform us that they'll only be playing "mature, adult songs" tonight, a promise that they fulfil, well up to the encore anyway. Singer Dav Ford's songwriting has certainly blossomed a great deal, as demonstrated on piano-led tracks Tonight (which bears a scary resemblance to a particular Bryan Adams number) and the heart-wrenchingly maudlin Saddest Song, whereas elsewhere Celebrity Killer and When You Come, I Won't Be Here are loud and catchy enough to rival previous Easyworld classics as This Is Where I Stand and Demons.

Throughout Dav furiously jumps around the stage and frequently surveys the audience from the speaker stacks, before finally furiously pummelling his guitar during angst-ridden closer Goodnight, his onstage antics contrasting marvellously to bassist Jo Taylor's sultry coolness and seductive stare. The band break their promise by performing a one-song encore of their "dirty, sleazy" song You & Me, but no-one cares as they manage to intersperse a tongue-in-cheek version of Justin's Rock Your Body into it, improving on the original in the process.

Having graced the Top 40 now on several occasions, if Easyworld can continue to evolve at the rate they have been, then they may no longer be destined to roam the lower reaches of the chart and could achieve genuine acclaim.

Clive Drew