Brooklyn-based trio Nation of Language stopped in Leeds to kickstart their British leg of the tour, which frontman Ian Devaney loudly declared was the “centre of the universe” to roaring agreement from the crowd. The Book Club basement quickly filled up with new-wave fanatics eager to hear their new album: ‘A Way Forward’, which arguably features their best tracks to date.
The party burst to a start with ‘Rush & Fever’, driven by the deep, powerful bassline from guitarist Michael Sue-Poi. These driving grooves would go on to be a consistent highlight of the night, reminiscent of the band’s influences such as Depeche Mode and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. Fans of the band should be sure to check out OMD’s early 80s records, which Devaney listed as one of the most significant inspirations towards their work.
Following three hilarious attempts at ‘A Different Kind of Life’, the set was on a roll, with little conversation between songs and a focus on keeping the dance moves going. The basement air was filled with an alluring, nostalgic energy. Two highlights were definitely the crowd favourites from the most recent album: ‘Across That Fine Line’ and ‘This Fractured Mind’. The basement mass shouting out the lyric “And I’m watching you walk”, thinking back to those relationships which once started as just friends”, was a beautiful reminder of the universal experiences we all share.
Following a brief intermission, the show was topped off with their emotive cover of the Pixies’ ‘Gouge Away’. The trio’s take on the classic 80s track is much more ethereal and stripped-back, with Aidan Noell’s electronic percussion replacing the acoustic drums of the original. This encore also cemented the incredible impression left on everyone in the audience, as well as confirmed their place as one of modern synth-pop’s dominating forces.
By Elliott Booth (@ Hyde Park Book Club)
Photo Credits- Piper Ferguson