Huddled on the narrow Albert stage, it would be easy to assume that drum’n’guitar duo Illness must have their backs firmly against the wall in more ways than one. It’s a fact that limited options often lead to predictable outpourings, yet it’s a trap that Illness are determined to avoid with their unique brand of instrumental math-garage.
They demonstrate tonight that they haven’t felt the need to dress their songs up in uncalled-for fanciful decoration, preferring to base their music on simple principles and unleash a twenty-minute, two pronged attack of twisting noise pop riffs and stuttering drums that bounce around veraciously like a mute breakdown era Wavves. As a crowd bunch forward, the band run through a series of calculated movements that encapsulate the underlying technicality on which their being is built, and in fairness, the lack of vocals would render the offerings largely impotent were it not for the fact that it is delivered with an unrestrained verve. Twisting as they jam out these acute, fuzzy sound-beds, it turns out that Illness don’t have their backs against the wall at all.
By Nathan Westley
Originally published in issue 25 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. February 2011