Sad Lovers & GiantsFollowing their reform a decade ago, the band has since released their first studio album in 16 years with 2018’s ‘Mission Creep’, and played a rare extended set. Original members Simon ‘Garce’ Allard (vocals, saxophone) and Nigel Pollard (drums) played alongside the 1987 lineup of the band featuring Tony McGuinness (guitar) and Ian Gibson (bass), also with 2009’s addition, Will Hicks (keyboards).

SLAG began their set with some sound problems which had persisted throughout the evening, Allard finally being able to use his microphone during ‘Close To The Sea’ a little while into the song. After they had played a couple of songs he self-depricatingly remarked, “Judging by the applause, I guess you weren’t expecting Sad Lovers & Giants. I see someone just leaving…”, their lack of popularity being a mark of distinction in keeping their sound so undiscovered.

Sad Lovers & Giants 1.jpg The band then proceeded to perform ‘Alaska’ from their 1990 album ‘Headland’ and newer song ‘Biblical Crows’ from last year’s album release, with its spidery guitar tones and Allard on saxophone. New song ‘Beauty Is Truth’ and 1983 ‘Feeding The Flame”s ‘Sleep (Is For Everyone)’ were the pinnacle of the set, the former featuring Curesque guitar riffs and the latter synth soundscapes straight out of ‘Seventeen Seconds’. The Cure’s influence on SLAG is unmistakeable and at times too familiar it becomes tedious.

They finished their main set on ‘Seven Kinds Of Sin’ from this lineup’s first album ‘The Mirror Test’, with Pollard’s Joy Division drumming style that also shows in SLAG’s earlier work, and new album single ‘Paradise’.

SLAG then returned for a synth-heavy 20-minute encore, in which they performed from their charting 1982 debut album, ‘Epic Garden Music’, with ‘Alice (Isn’t Playing)’ as well as two of their early 7″ singles, ‘Lost In A Moment’ and ‘Colourless Dream’. Although the band have an obvious similarity to The Cure and Joy Division, possibly explaining their lack of overall popularity, their timeless and memorable songs, original song structures and general unfamiliarity grows on you, and they are quintessentially post-punk only slighted by their heavily borrowing sound.

16/03/19: Sad Lovers & Giants @ Electrowerkz, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.