Re-TROS: Before The Applause

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We reviewed this late last year but caught them live at Bluedot and they were outstanding.

They’re from “Beijing, China”, as singer/guitarist Hua Dong introduced them, like there’s any other kind of Beijing. He was a compelling performer, playing keys and willing the music to do his bidding, as he erratically waved his arms about, at one point punching a quick 1-2 into the air to ram home the sound coming from his synth.

He and his wife, keyboardist and bassist Liu Min, multi-task, she in particular, while drummer Ma Hui is a talented player.

Re-TROS were formerly known as Rebuilding The Rights Of Statues and, for sensible reasons, shortened that. The internet says they were previously competent at aping New Order / Cure type rock, but their music is now a new sound. Reviewing the album we thought of band such as Hawkwind and world jam bands such as Goat and Holy F— and the B52s but live it’s a solid throb of psychedelic dance. The band lays down a throbbing beat via the synth and then weaves the instruments around this, using samples as they go, to make a richer sound than three players could make without the aid of technology.

The centrepiece of the album is the 12-minute At Mos Phere, a seemingly never-ending house / electronica track, but live, all the songs are long, ending only when Hua Dong raises his hand to indicate two bars remain.

We were expecting them to be ok, but they were outstanding; it’s true the crowd thinned as they played, as it was loud and solid, but we guess most of those who stayed will have bought the album by now.

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