Words by Beth Madden.

New band Koalas opened the gig in the gritty Soup Kitchen basement for what they explain is their first. The synth-pop duo gave an impressive performance that was reminiscent of Everything Everything with the added tinge of a female vocal.

When Frànçois takes to the stage, he can’t help but comment, “what a day to be playing the UK” in reference to the triggering of Arcitle 50. An issue presumably close to home, as the band formed in Bristol in 2003 but now reside in Brussels.

Their sound is, as you’d expect, very well polished and despite whether or not you can understand the lyrics of this French dream-pop, it succeeds in making you want to move.

There’s something fascinating about a band who can sound so laidback whilst still speaking so politically. It is perhaps their unique mish-mash of South African beats with the kind of indie-pop that makes you think of summer and pastel painted European streets that makes this possible.

New album ‘Solide Mirage’ does not stray from this. Released earlier this month as their first album since 2014’s ‘Piano Ombre’, the album has produced some effortlessly elegant songs such as ‘1982’ and ‘Grand Dérèglement’. After showcasing some of their newer material, the band effortlessly blend together as they slip into fan favourite ‘La Vérité’ and the gig ends on an energetic high with three quarters of the band jamming together at the front of the stage.

The crowd seem happy to indulge in whichever direction the band take them, whether that be full funk or soft gentle melody. And it’s not surprising; despite a few political comments, and the subtly political undertones of their music, they simultaneously make it very easy to forget about the world outside this basement as you become further immersed in their music, making them an especially enjoyable live band.

The end of the gig felt like the appropriate pinnacle of an emotional show, with an array of sounds coming crashing together. This is a band who throw their all into their performances, and they leave the stage looking a mixture of relieved and exhausted, while their audience is left thoroughly satisfied.

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Frànçois & the Atlas Mountains performed at Soup Kitchen on Wednesday 29th March 2017

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