Live: Dripping In Sweat & Splendour. Amiina, XOYO.

Amidst newly-nailed plasterboard walls and dim, ember-like exposed filaments, an infernal atmosphere brews as more sweat drips in an hour than in an Icelandic annum. For tonight the most tender, vulnerable orchestration courtesy of cutesy expanded quartet Amiina is pitted against the relentless whirr of an industrial fan, as well as the impenetrable thud of Dum Dum Girls bombasting the floor upon which a substantial sea of perspiring bodies bobs. Equipped with cellos, violins, xylophones, MacBooks, saws and seemingly half of the instruments available to the entirety of Iceland not currently traipsing the globe incessantly with Jónsi, tonight Amiina are far more than backing band. In support of their sophomore LP Puzzle, backed by live drums and 'electronic artist' Kippi Kaninus who cowers behind a glowing Apple, the Reykjavik troupe draw almost uniquely from its whiskered organicity, from the cinematic bows and bass of Sicsak, to the Takk-era Sigur Rós strings of Mambó. Kaninus proves to be more than a mere avant-garde pin-up for the swooning chin strokers on In The Sun, twanging away on a ukulele beneath caterwauled vocals that converge in harmonies more precise than the most astronomical of bank statements, whilst the instrumental Púsi is wistfully chilling, despite the subterranean climes within the blacked out hotbox that XOYO has become. However there is an alarming disparity between the musical frigidity emanated onstage and the tropical humidity within the drywalls of Old Street's latest double decker retreat and had the walls been painted, presumably they'd be in dire need of a new lick, post sweat globular. Yet blood-boiling heat aside, Amiina's fairground sounds, complimented intelligently and inherently by the core contingent chopping and changing instruments with stomach-churning vigour, are sumptuously unbecoming to their alien surroundings, the saw-led berceuse What are we waiting for? somnolent and stunning in equal measure. Their minimal usage of vocal orchestration throughout adds an eerie, mystical tinge to proceedings, rendering Over and Again particularly poignant, its choral chants tugging subtly on every heart string present in puppeteer-like omnipotence. It is however the xylophonic plinks of Hemipode, lifted from ancient EP AnimaminA, that provides tonight's sultry highlight, scarcely bettering the vociferous accordions of Ásinn. Entirely affecting and capable of provoking sensations of sailing away into shadowed domains aboard perilous barges, one can only pray Amiina return from said domains imminently.