Despite the murmuring of dissent in the weeks leading up to this gig, it turns out a local band with minimum airplay and only a handful of gigs under their belts CAN release a debut EP and nearly sell out The Corner on a Friday. Alpine, whose hype has been moving from a low buzz to a steady roar since their signing to Ivy League last August, prove beyond a doubt that 2011 is going to be their year. Kicking off with a brief instrumental Lovers, they leap into Too Safe from their EP Zurich and it’s safe to say the young, stylish hand very vocal audience are very familiar with the singles and grow more enthusiastic with every song.
Before the third song is over, the band’s songwriting format begins to show; bold guitar chops, icy vocal harmonies, 303-style pulses from the bass guitar, clipped minimal drums and dense washes of synth. It’s a stellar combination and one the six-piece toy with joyfully. Comprising of four guys and two artfully made up and attired harmonising girls Phoebe Baker and Louisa James, Alpine have struck a winning combination. Christian O’Brien’s slashing dry guitar work sounds simplistic but is delicate and precise, holding this unusually tight band sound together and ensuring that the only way the songs stray from their recorded version is by an elevation in intensity.
The stunning mid-set highlights Hands and Tough Skin see the constantly writhing and dancing Baker’s makeup run, as does the sweat down the backs of the tightly dancing audience. New songs Seeing Red, North South East West and Vigour, promisingly, get the audience responding louder than ever. As cupfuls of glitter are hurled toward the ceiling, the projections of the cosmos that have been illuminating the band reach a flickering peak and Baker’s microphone is flung to the floor as the single Heartlove kicks in it’s impossible not to be caught up in the thrill of the moment. Encore Icypoles (recently remixed by impossibly hip British producer Star Slinger) ratchets the joyful intensity up another notch, and the coda to Icypoles ends a set that could be turned into one of the best albums of 2011. Alpine are onto a winner and delivered one of the best gigs of recent memory to prove it.