Carving out a name for yourself in the local music scene is trying enough. Carving out your thumb while trying to force open a bottle of Corona with a knife seconds before you’re due to take to the stage however takes some serious doing.
Tom, bassist of DENS, did exactly this at the Sheffield-based band’s first headline gig in their home city late last year. This did not perturb him at all; before easing in their set the band was the picture of confidence.
To my right in the intimate upstairs room of Division Street’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ was a bar, to my left, a sea of sweating bodies. Directly in front we were faced with amps cranked so loud that I’m sure no one was spared tinnitus. DENS cut along through their set with a casual vigour despite the gravity of what was only their second gig.
The set-closer on the night ‘Creeper’ is one of the few tracks to have been treated to some recording time. Though it has been scaled back to give it its studio sheen on the night, as the crisp high-hats opened up towards the track’s crescendo, the audience got the sense that this room was all too small for this band.
Casual blood-letting is testimony to the band’s gritty sound which thuds along at a measured-pace in order to let the full-bodied sound have its desired impact. There is a fine degree of delicacy to the band too as they prefer the slow-build over the fast-pummel. The breezy chorus lead in ‘Creeper’ breaks into a punchy overdriven riff and from then on the layers then start to swell and dynamically reshape.
‘Cry Love’s lead riff, which plays like it’s been fed through Peter Hook’s amp in ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart,’ introduces the song’s choppy rhythm. It weaves into an Editors-esque chorus line which rests beneath the incantatory lyric ‘only love can make it’. All elements in their song craft pronounce a thoughtful band with a fine taste for sound.
Mentored by George Moran, rhythm guitarist in Miles Kane’s band, DENS can only go up. They’ve established themselves quickly spending time working on promo, a short stint recording, releasing a music video and gigging in Sheffield and the Nation of Shopkeepers in Leeds. Let’s see what’s next…