On the eve of a night of undoubted political turbulence, Far Out headed back to The Albert Hall Manchester to kick back away from the madness and enjoy the sprawling soundscapes of one of our favourite-developing collectives from across the pond.

Tycho is a project that used to very much be a solo vehicle for Scott Hansen. However, five albums and numerous lauded live shows later, the band has now grown to a four-piece – offering audience members a more textured experience.

In particular, the introduction of Rory O’Connor on drums added a backbone that evolved Tycho from bedroom synth experiment to transcendental psych voyage. We arrive to catch them in full flow having recently wowed crowds at essential fixtures on the worldwide festival scene including Primavera Sound and Coachella.

It’s an ambitious venue for a band that have never truly broken the mainstream in the UK. The 2,500-capacity space is nowhere near full, but all those in attendance seem in awe. Those packed in down the front revel in having the whites of  Hansen and bassist Zac Brown’s eyes bear down on them, while besotted couples scattered around the edges bask in some moments of soaring ambience.

The live band brings about a slightly more human element that conjures comparisons to recent live tours from the likes of Bonobo and Caribou, but with peaks and troughs that carry a greater subtlety. As a result, it’s a set that some could possibly deem as lacking in standout moments, while others would argue this is just a product of flawless cohesion.

It’s not until the closer of the main set that Hansen steps out from behind his desk to pick up his guitar, and the heavier edge that follows make us wish it could have been a step he’d taken a little earlier on. There are echoes of Mogwai as ambience morphs into thudding post-rock.

After a short departure Tycho return for an encore and are met by huge applause. There have perhaps been odd moments that may have been lost in the ether of the Albert Hall tonight, but there can be no doubt it’s been an encapsulating evening. Blissful.

 

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