This review was written by Mart Z, who will be to covering shows in NYC for us from time to time.
Inc. played an album release show for their debut full-length, No World, at Le Poisson Rouge on Tuesday Night. With a steady stream of fog wafting around them, the live music of this L.A.-based act is something even more special. Brothers Daniel and Andrew Aged have crafted a style of song that is both spaciously accessible on a pop level, yet densely layered in detail and full of textural subtleties. On Tuesday, the music of No World maintained its loose yet complex feel on record, but with a band of two drummers and a keyboard player to back up Andrew and Daniel (who were on guitar and bass respectively, both on vocals). On top of the live instrumentation were meticulously arranged electronic background tracks, which added a subtle but crucial color to the fabric of the live show.
Upon first listen, No World is a straight-ahead R&B album, and a damn smooth one at that. There is a swirl of varied influences that makes the music unlike anything else, and their record-release show really showcased their diversity in styles and decades of influence. During the performance of “Black Wings”, Daniel’s flanged guitar felt more like it came out of a Cocteau Twins song, while Daniel’s thumping bass ostinato echoed a repetitive (and slowed down) 90s hip-hop groove. Clever keyboard inversions seemed to mimic parts that might be heard in a chilled out Prince song. Throughout the set, Andrew’s sultry-smooth lead vocals carried the audience into an R&B world somewhere between 1983 and 1999, dotted with pitch bends and soulful melismas. Daniel doubled Andrew’s vocals on parts of songs, testifying to the brothers’ striking vocal similarity and compatibility, which was made only more visually striking due to their strong fraternal similarity in appearance.
The percussive interplay of the drummers was particularly compelling, as varying syncopated rhythms were exchanged between kits and otherwise humanly impossible patterns were formed. Both percussionists were solidly in tune with each other and the whole band, leading the songs through various tempo and time changes. Inc.’s single “5 days” – which closed out the set – was punctuated by an aggressive break-beat section toward the end of the song. After a few runs through the verse on this double-time, the feel and tempo transitioned back to normal (and then into spacier territory) as flawlessly as the rhythmic break had begun.
I am confident that this is the beginning of a long and beautiful saga for Inc. and the future of R&B. Show them some love and check out of their future shows whenever you can. In the meantime, buy their album. The more you listen to it, the deeper it will draw you into its mesh of details, textures and influences.