By Charlotte Stones

A rather timid Exlovers played in front of a more than intimate crowd at the HMV Institute in Birmingham. Their unexpected and somewhat shy entrance with opening with song ‘This Love’ was nevertheless well received by the ‘minimalist’ but welcoming crowd, with vocalist Peter Scott referring to them as ‘small but definitely loud!’ Exlovers’ dreamy marriage of contrasting girl/boy vocals with catchy guitar tunes provided a cheering feeling throughout the set and so too with following song ‘Photobooth’.

The more dynamic ‘You’re so quiet’ was a brilliant way of stirring the previously stationary crowd. As with the majority of small crowds, there was an overwhelming sense of uncertainty and awkwardness at the start of the set, with most crowd members waiting for others to let slip just how much they were enjoying it. These uncomfortable doubts were shattered by the London 5-piece as they played this more upbeat and bouncy song.

Crowd favourite ‘Just a Silhouette’ was just yet another chance for the modest band to showcase one more of their stunning dream-pop anthems. With the first acknowledgment of the introductory guitars, the room was filled with smiles and the comforting feeling Exlovers created by the accompanying bass part. Prior anxiety among the crowd had by now completely vanished and was replaced with encouraging gestures to contribute to the mix of the song’s smiling melodies and sweetly gloomy lyrics.

Recently released ‘Blowing Kisses’ was a further success with the intimate crowd (unfortunately largely made up of the girlfriends of the pretty poor support group). It’s hearty guitar introduction provided a strong and exciting opening to the sunny song, showing a more shoegazing side to Exlovers, so too exposed with new song ‘Emily’.

Leaving the most energetic (in this case ever ‘sunny’ sounding) song until last seems to be a ‘can’t go wrong’ move for most bands, and recent B-Side ‘Motheaten Memories’ was no exception. Another bright and breezy song by the band, yet this one had a distinctly heavier and grungier feel to it, which was fantastically received by the crowd. The night definitely had a feeling of warmth, despite the nipping iciness of the venue and Exlovers’ ability to melt the hearts of possibly the most awkward of crowds says a lot about their music. Its substantial instrumental and boy/girl harmonies never failed to move the audience throughout their short set, which lasted around 40 minutes but still, provoked no feelings of being at a loss.

The London quintet’s little known status is one I question, particularly given their obvious attention to detail in their performance. Their optimistic sound and cleverly contrasted lyrics give Exlovers the opportunity to really show off their talent as a top dream pop band and in seeing them perform; it really is very noticeable how much they love their music, a trait hidden by musicians all too often.

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