Brooklyn boffin David Longstreth doesn’t make it easy for himself when attempting to replicate his songs live, his meandering, complex studio creations relying on quick feet for guitar effects, four intertwining voices and a drummer who plays real and electronic beats at the same time.
Perhaps disconcertingly for a man who once wrote a song cycle about Don Henley of The Eagles and had the lyrics of a recent song translated into a 7,000-year-old Mesopotamian script, his latest album has been praised because it is his most straightforward.
Necessarily stripped back still further in live form, Swing Lo Magellan, the new album’s lovely title track, was a ballad of pure beauty.
The band rocked out, after a fashion, on the lurching climax of Useful Chamber, but the biggest cheers of the night were reserved for the work of the principal female singers on Beautiful Mother, from a 2010 EP the band made with Björk. Amber Coffman and Haley Dekle mixed their voices in spectacular fashion, creating a showstopping sound like an ancient tribal chant.
Stillness is the Move showed that they can come up with a pop tune if necessary too.
Though hardly easygoing, they were certainly easy to like.