California residents Foreign Born seem like the perfect touring buddies for Los Angeles fellows Giant Drag. Their mix of 80s high school Donnie Darko edginess is mixed with a Kings of Leon jauntiness that makes ‘Wasn’t Said To Ask’ and ‘Into Yr Dream’ quintessentially American. ‘Escape’ is a mish-mash of melodic ‘Here Comes The Sun’ riffs and crazy relentless drums that see them flinging themselves around the stage with the abandon of happy spring lambs. They bring a little light to the gloomy Manchester stage with ‘Letter of Inclusion’ sounding so happy it could be made from pure, molten sunshine.
As they move into jerkier We Are Scientists territory on ‘We Had Pleasure’, their relentless happiness sees they never descend into bitterness. Even when the tone becomes slightly melancholy with ‘It Grew On You’, with drums rolling in like heavy thunder they are always hopeful that the sun will shine through. ‘The Nights Tall’ see them lose focus, fading into the background and easily forgotten. Radio-friendly ‘Into The Remote Woods’ from the EP of the same name brings them back in the game, all 80s synths and sparkling melodies. Foreign Born are certainly a band of the moment, where they go from here will see whether they can stay the course.
Opening with gently mewling vocals of ‘Blunt Picket Fence’, Giant Drag sound slightly tense. Looking like a cute school girl on a stage in front of lairy Manc lads can’t be fun, but Annie Hardy’s reaction is far from tame. ‘You Fuck Like My Dad’ effortless footstomping rhythms grabs them by the balls and squeezes. The heckling showing no sign of let up ‘White Baby’s saccharine skirt twirling dance aims to tease, to show just what their missing out on. Latest single ‘This Isn’t It’ is met with familiar recognition. The perfect song for a casual fling, or letting someone down gently its sharp bitter edges are hidden under gentle crooning melodies that soften the blow.
‘Pretty Neighbour’ is the more sinister cousin than This Isn’t It’s sweet sister. With swirling sinister guitars people pay attention to Micah’s remarkable ability to play drums and keyboard at the same time, and never miss a beat. Harder, sharper, and as a Annie would sat altogether ‘gnarlier’ ‘High Friends In Places is altogether different animal, with hints of Patti Smiths crazy, off-kilter beat poetry, with 'Drugs' seeing them slip even further off the radar. With sweat literally pouring off them ‘Smashing’ slows the pace right down, the soaring melodies lifting them up over the idle chatter, but they never stay calm for long ‘My Dick Sux’ taking them into punkier Distiller territory.
Introduced by Annie as "a sad song because I’m sad", as she resigns herself to the hecklers, ‘Tired Yet’ is a good old fashioned pop song, with heavier crashing drums perfect for rainy days. A snotty, angry cover of Chris Isaacs 'Wicked Game’ has beautiful crooning guitar licks that jar with the lyrics ‘fuck you’ attitude, which begs the question why they didn’t want anyone to hear it. ‘Kevin Is Gay’ sees everyone singing along with feel good vibes almost visibly seen floating through the air - Giant Drag finally drowning out the hecklers and concentrating on the songs.