O2 Academy Islington – 26th April

New Bella Union signings all the way from Seoul, South Korea, Jambinai are highly-rated for their heavily-majestic live shows which somehow meld traditional Korean folk elements with that sexy post-rock sensuality we all know and love.

The three core members squeeze onto stage with their touring drummer and bassist under a flush of bold blue, trialling their primary instruments over the thumping drum beat of ‘Deus Benedicat Tibi’. The squeals and bleats of Lee Il-woo’s taepyeongso tease us into a hurricane of sound; slapping the audience across the chops. Some clutch their ears, others jolt back a step. All of us are literally blown away in the first few moments.

The chaotic flurry beautifully withers into ‘The Mountain’ where, for all the messy sounds of seconds ago, we are treated to a perfect display of two of Jambinai’s unusual instruments. To the left, Kim Bo-mi slithers the haunting strings of her haegeum back and forth, spiking the hairs on my neck in the process. To the right, sat on the floor just before me, Shim Eun-young masterfully strikes her geomungo with murderous timing. All that’s left is the accompanying bass-line and seeping drum pattern to piece together an almighty post-rock composition. That is, until half way through, these wonderful singular sounds make way for a crescendo of biblical proportions.

“We are a strange band from a strange country,” explains Lee to an adoring, attentive crowd. Referencing the tragic sinking of MV Sewol in 2014 and the government’s betrayal of its 300-odd victims, Jambinai proudly play us their tribute ‘They Keep Silence’ with raw emotional aptitude. It’s almost as though one can hear the sound of drowning and distrust spring out from the band’s thrashing efforts; Lee as the centre-piece throwing around his Telecaster with pained duress.

It’s an odd achievement, Jambinai boast: to blast the audience in one moment, leaving us out of breath and commanding absolute silence during the parts which need it. And what is more, for a five-piece live act, the band play a ridiculous array of instruments for one set. I counted two guitars, drums, bass, taepyeongso, piri, geomungo, haegeum, three different types of mini keys, two more xylophones, vocals and a triangle. Yes, a triangle. I’m sure Jambinai, if they could, most definitely would, incorporate the spoons and a glockenspiel should it be readily available.

Despite enjoying the epic numbers of ‘Echo of Creation’, ‘Nuburak’ and the dripping guitar chords of ‘For Everything That You Lost’, the memorable highlight was the grand finale, ‘Connection’. They say their thank yous and promise returning another day before sinking into, what will always be, a post-rock classic.

Scaling the dizzying, epic heights of Godspeed You! Black Emperor; sailing the drone-some waves of Mogwai; blessing the wondrous grace of Sigur Ros; trickling the emotional falls of Explosions In The Sky; Jambinai tick all the right post-rock boxes. But they are Jambinai, complete with their own brand of euphorically performed soundscapes.

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