Thirteen Senses
@ Leeds Cockpit

Touring to support their new album, Contact, the follow up to their 2004 debut, Thirteen Senses are at pains to claim a difference to the new stuff: “It’s a lot harder, a lot grittier”, says Will, the singer. Not that you’d notice tonight, where the vibe is one of big pop tunes. It looks like Thirteen Senses have pulled out all the stops and spent a fortune on lighting and an amazing sound rig that brings stadium sound to little venues. Out back they have a double decker bus with a trailer and it looks like a last attempt at the big-time. They alternate old and new material and I would barely b able to tell the difference except that Will sits low at the front on piano for the old stuff and takes a guitar to stand up front for the new stuff. It’s not harder-edged, just differently arranged.

Behind him, Brendon on drums is encased in a neon pyramid, quite flask for The Cockpit. The sound is full and loud with a deep bass. The sounds are separate and rich, like a big system that hasn’t had to be pushed up to 11. The guitar stretches out on some ringing lines and some chiming tones. There is more than a hint of Keane to the band and while I really enjoy the sound they make, the songs get a bit samey. That’s nice on the album, where it soundtracks the home but, after the gig, I am pushed to remember the individual songs. All The Love In Your Hands, besides being a pretty funny innuendo for wanking, is the new single and positively thunderous; boasting a four-chord step-down ripped from Neil Young’s Like A Hurricane. Another standout is the next single – Spirals and that pretty much tops off the evening. They’ve managed to cover most of their two albums in a full and rich seventy-odd minutes and put on a grand show of power that just needs more distinctive material to push it over the top.

Ross McGibbon