Local duo Screen Vinyl Image played a brief and bracing show on the Black Cat Backstage Wednesday night, turning the weaknesses of their latest record into strengths.
The music that Jake and Kim Reid make on their recent Strange Behavior is overly murky and ponderous, but live, with their bank of rhythm machines set to Chest Rattle and their guitars turned to Super Echo, their dark-hued take on shoegaze made perfect sense.
Throughout the 40-minute set — with the house lights turned off and the stage illuminated only by a slideshow and the occasional strobe — it was clear that songs like “Revival” were made to be felt as well as heard.
When the pair turned to “Angelica Take Me Down,” a song by their former band Alcian Blue, it was an illuminating moment: The older tune was speedier and thinner than the songs that came before and after it, and clearly demonstrated their current outfit’s sharper, more powerful focus.
Drawing inspiration from a slew of iconic acts— the influence of Suicide, Lush, The Jesus and Mary Chain and Joy Division are easily discernable in songs like “My Confession” and “Night Trip — Screen Vinyl Image is hardly working the cutting edge. Yet, the single-minded dedication they displayed indicated they couldn’t care less what decade it is.
Which may explain why the standout track on “Strange Behavior” is titled “We Don’t Belong.” With every stylized vocal line from Jake and every icy strum of Kim’s highly-reverbed guitar it became clear that the duo relishes their out-of-time strategy.