Archive @ Rockhal 3.11.15

Just nine months after their last show in Luxembourg, Rockhal welcomed British rock band Archive to the stage on Tuesday evening once more.

Over their 20-year career they have managed to build up a solid reputation and following in continental Europe, both of which have eluded them in their native UK.

I’ll admit I had never heard of Archive until I moved to Luxembourg. Which is strange as I’m a fan of many bands they are compared to, such as Massive Attack and Portishead. Although there are similarities to those bands, they certainly have their own distinct sound.

This individual style in some ways might have hindered them with the British media, who are so concentrated on finding the next bright young hope, they’re not often interested in acts that have been around for so long. The press also feel the need to pigeonhole acts but as Archive cross so many genres this can prove to be troublesome. So after combining these two factors, Archive seem to be the band that have slipped through the cracks and eluded the British public.

First up were instrumental post rockers Robin Foster who delved between dark cinematic brooding grooves, to full on rock. They even brought Archive’s Dave Pen on stage to lend his hand on one song with vocals.

For Archive however, it was an altogether fuller sonic experience. There was no slow build up, their opener “Feel It” was straight in with crunching guitar and two-chord garage rock, full on energy and verve to kick the evening off.

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Having released two albums in the past year there was plenty of energy and excitement coming from the stage, none more so than Darius Keeler on keys who looked like he was conducting a rave at points, pounding his arms to every beat.

As the band continued to blend genres with consummate ease from trip hop to progressive rock, they were never short of a good dance groove. With “Crushed” & “Finding It So Hard” their layers of keyboards and synths, along with the driving drums, which were accompanied by the three panel projection and light show, produced one of the most euphoric moments of the night.

The encore saw them go from atmospheric Pink Floyd-esque piano led “Words On Signs” to the crunching driving guitars of “Numb”. Just another example of the band veering through genres as they wished.

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Their live show is altogether more energetic and uplifting than their record. This isn’t to say there is an issue with the record but it’s just an interesting adaptation to the live environment.

Archive seem to be a band that could sit comfortably in a dark and dingy club with kids dancing around, to large arenas with people standing back and enjoying the layers and complexity to their show. It’s this wide appeal that seems to work so well for them in mainland Europe and maybe unfortunately says something about the British music public that they seem to have been pushed aside.

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