Model Village + Mammoth Penguins + Mega Emotion @ The Portland Arms

JESS HOYLE heads to The Portland Arms for Model Village’s album launch.

album launch massive penguins mega emotion model village Music stockholm The Portland Arms

Planning to go to an album launch for a second-album-but-debut-album isn’t something that happens very often, but with Cambridge and London based Model Village’s up and coming release ‘You Chose These Woes’, that is exactly the case.

A follow up to their 2012 ‘A Solution to Everything’ which was essentially a compilation of previous releases and after tempting us late last year with a preview of new track ‘Stockholm’, their new album is all highly awaited new studio material and an amalgamation of uplifting beats and lovely pop-folk harmonies.

Stockholm by Model Village

The opening act for the evening, Mega Emotion, admitted during their set that they had not done many gigs in their lifetime, and this was quite evident. It did not help that you could hardly hear what they were singing over the overly turned up guitars and cymbals, but there was an overall feeling of disorganisation. Despite this, they are great multi-instrumentalists and the strong voices of the two female singers create an edgy, powerful sound. The 405 made their track ‘Brains’ a single of the year in 2013, and if their live performances become anything like their crazy electro-pop recorded material they have the ability to go a long way.

I must admit, I have been listening to Mammoth Penguins a lot lately and I love them and I held high hopes for their set. My hopes were not dashed.  As with Mega Emotion, they are a relatively new band, and a great one at that. The interesting and addictive vocals of Emma Kupa and the group’s rocky beats stole the show. Opening their set with ‘March’ the crowd were instantly hooked, while moving on to the likes of ‘The Hermit’ and extremely catchy ‘Propped Up By Affection’ they had me rocking out and left everyone wanting more. This band is one to closely follow, expect great things and even greater sounds.

Jess sees Mammoth Potential in Mammoth Penguins

The first thing you notice about Model Village’s set is not just the choice of Rachel Duncan’s bold novelty knitwear but the sheer amount of people that they manage to fit on to such a small stage (the band boasts three lead singers and seven members altogether.)  With arguably a bit of a slow start, the band breaks in to the already available new track and album opener ‘Sunday.’ Even with its more cheerful beat they fail to captivate the crowd and I cannot help but be left feeling underwhelmed. As their set progresses it is sadly much the same, even their performance of ‘Stockholm’ fails to come across as well live as well as the track does on the album.

It is the straightforward melodies of stripped back songs such as ‘Antiques’ which highlight the talent of Model Village and their ability to create wonderfully wistful harmonic tracks. The benefit of three lead singers is the ability to produce intricate harmonies and layers within each song, and this is what sets Model Village apart from other bands. Saying this, their set is just not captivating enough. The group have a disappointing lack of stage presence and they did not convey the excitement that you would expect with an album launch gig.

Model Village and their standout Dennis the Menace jumper


Model Village start a full UK tour in February and ‘You Chose These Woes’ was released January 13th.