Gig review: Fractures w/ Mammals, August 8 @ The Vanguard

It is a night swathed in velvet. At the Vanguard in Newtown, the ceilings are high, the lights are low and the mood is distinctly enticing. It’s an intimate space, with couples feeding each other with long spoons upstairs and cheeky winking bartenders downstairs. The Vanguard’s New Orleans styling, strong whiskeys and warm surroundings wants you blushing and stripping off layers of clothing, and with a voice that purrs and a sound that sends shivers all the way down your spine, Fractures wants you doing the same.

Bringing in the early crowd and coaxing them to the front of the stage, Northern Beaches Mammals cruise with confidence across guitar rock and electronic tracks. A spread of instruments covers the stage, demonstrating the intricacies of their music as they dip a toe across the lines of guitar rock, glitch pop and electronica with a surfer sensitivity. Mammals are crisp, chirpy and visibly excited to be back together again after travels spread them apart. They are keen to live up to the standard of Fractures and relish the stage together. Guy Brown, the mythical surfer third brother of Angus Stone and Vance Joy, calls out to the audience and dances about on their upbeat tracks, committing to the set entirely. By the end of it he is buzzing and the crowd is ready to take the plunge into Fractures.

Mark Zito aka Fractures brings a more cool, calm and collected taste as he slides into Coral and introduces the crowd to brand new tracks, as well as those from his recently released eponymous EP. On stage his confidence oozes into every song, the hushed harmonies of Embers washing over the crowd and lulling us into each other’s arms. This is bedroom music, no doubt about it. Zito is thrilled to sell out a venue away from his home state, introducing the crowd to the band which includes his brother as part of the five-piece. Fractures’ voice is rich as caramel, the vulnerable tone of some of his songs replaced with seductive allure through swelling vocals and accompaniment that swallows you whole.

His gorgeous EP has received widespread airplay on independent radio and live (read our review here), Fractures is even more powerful. His new music has the same breathy quality that makes you lean in until you catch yourself swooning, and while some songs had the crowd grinding and writhing there is always the element that flutters your eyelids and wins you over with a whisper. Zito didn’t play an encore – Twisted, the song that brought him into the spotlight and onto new stages, was a fitting climax. That said, everyone in the Vanguard was left breathless for more.