One of London’s most hyped bands of the moment, Bar Italia are playing Band on the Wall in support of their acclaimed 2023 album, The Twits.
Bar Italia emerged a few years ago as signees to Dean Blunt’s World Music label, where they curried niche intrigue among fans of shadowy, lo-fi indie rock. With word-of-mouth buzz growing rapidly, the music press scrambled to figure out what, exactly, this three-piece represented. Were they earnest slackers or tongue-in-cheek provocateurs, or maybe neither?
The trio (Nina Cristante, Jezmi Tarik Fehmi and Sam Fenton) knew better than to give anything away, cultivating an intrigue that led to them signing with indie powerhouse Matador for 2023’s Tracey Denim. Incorporating noughties indie, shoegaze and Britpop, the album was widely acclaimed, particularly for its hypnotic singles ‘Punkt’ and ‘Nurse!’, the latter sounding like a 90’s hit you inexplicably missed the first time around.
Five months later, Bar Italia are back with The Twits, which expands their bookish but brutalist style across 13 slightly unnerving songs of city-dwelling disaffection. Their economical songcraft takes raucous, mystic, angsty, and occasionally sinister turns through the record, while making room for some – dare I say it – upbeat bangers in the form of the danceable ‘worlds greatest emoter’ and the in-the-red riffage of ‘my little tony’. Sonic Youth and the Velvet Underground feel like touchstones on deeper cuts like ‘Shoo’ and ‘twist’, with a gesture towards festival tent psychedelia in ‘Hi-fiver’.
With a feeling that The Twits represents Bar Italia’s arrival proper, now’s a good time to catch them live, and Band on the Wall’s a great venue for their show on 1 May.