Intoku is a band shrouded in mystery. Arriving at Crofters Rights for their first official show, I’m not sure what to expect, but seeing Bristol music-scene icon Big Jeff standing by the stage as I enter the venue is an assuring sign.
The sense of mystery increases as I wait and, just before the show starts, I’m handed a small black envelope by a stranger with an embossed business card inside displaying the band’s web address.
The venue slowly fills up as the support act for the night – the excellent Nederveen – delivers a short and captivating acoustic set. Soon after, Intoku themselves take to the stage. Among smoke and swirling lights, they waste no time diving into their first song.
The band have labelled themselves as a dark electronic three-piece and it’s an appropriate description. Their set opens led by a wash of synthesisers and some soulful vocals from singer Sophie Griffin, immediately weaving up a shadowy atmosphere.
immediately weaving up a shadowy atmosphere
As the drums come in, the song grows more frenzied, quickly turning into a full-on dancefloor filler that has the whole room moving. Despite this being Intoku’s first official gig, they clearly know what they’re doing. Griffin’s vocals ooze confidence, and it doesn’t take more than the first song to assure everyone in the audience that they’re in the right place.
Portishead is one of the first comparisons that comes to mind
When it comes to Intoku’s sound, Portishead is one of the first comparisons that comes to mind. Many of the slower songs in the show boast a sensual, atmospheric quality that recalls the iconic trip hop act. There are even elements of dream pop in places, with the band adding a reverb-drenched guitar to the mix on one song in the set.
At other times, the influence of current electronic acts come through, such as Flume and Maribou State. Intoku’s show features its fair share of heavier moments and many of the songs contain heavy drops that are impossible not to dance to. In particular, the last song of the set feels designed for club dance floors. The band jokingly introduce it as a great song to ‘skank out’ to, and there’s no denying that it would slip in on a playlist of dance hits effortlessly.
Intoku’s show features its fair share of heavier moments
The best moments of the set weave these two sides of the band together seamlessly. Songs like Make Pretend dive between the band’s softer and heavier side with a real sense of ease.
As the band finish, everyone in the room is left buzzing. Intoku already seem to have such a firm idea of what they want to be and if this is a starting point for them, then it’s exciting to see where they go next. Roll on show number two.