New band Karen may only be playing their fourth gig tonight, but they are no strangers to the live arena with the four members racking up circa two hundred years between them, the majority of which they have spent playing in various respected bands hailing from the Bristol area.

Singer, guitarist and songsmith Davey Woodward is the most recognised member having previously fronted cult groups the Brilliant Corners and the Experimental Pop Band as well as recording and still performing as a solo artist.

The rest of the band’s musical CVs aren’t that shabby either; guitarist Phil Elvins was in the Brilliant Corners with Woodward, drummer Tom Adams was a Beatnik Filmstar and bass player Hugo Morris played in the Heads and still plays with Loop.

The songs they have created, and play superbly tonight, range from the laidback down beat of 'Invisible Friend' and debut single 'Ocean', a beautiful hymn to isolation, to the fuzzed up American indie-rock (if played by the Kinks) of 'Lover'.

In between there is an extended 'Retail Park', in all its rock glory, which highlights the excellent interplay amongst these seasoned musicians and the wonderful 'Broken Stars'.

If that wasn’t enough, the final song, 'Too Late' is an absolute beauty. It has more hooks than a pirates’ convention and worms its way into the brain immediately. It’s classic timeless indie-pop that would have made Peel swoon.

I know I’m somewhat biased, being a long time Woodward fan, and I know they’re hardly the new kids on the block (hell they’re not even American!), but take it from me Karen are the best new band you’ll hear this year.

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Commenting On: Exchange, Bristol, 23/1/2016 - Karen

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