[sic] Magazine

Whispering Sons – Namur Belvédère , Nov 10th, 2018.

Whispering Sons bring their atmospheric brand of alternative rock to the picturesque town of Namur in the centre of Belgium. A higher contrast is difficult to imagine. The Brussels-based act deliver all manner of post punk tropes – isolation, despair, confinement… These are normally the province of harsh cityscapes, industrial buildings and squalor. Not the leafy suburbs of beautiful Namur, high above its twin-river valley.

Tonight was a bit of a last minute rush for me but boy was it worth it. In the panic I managed to forget my camera but see our interview feature for some live snaps. The ‘Sons take to the stage looking fresh faced, like a school band almost and then proceed to wreak all manner of early Eighties havoc out of their instruments. Their competence is dazzling. Their performance electrifying. Fenne Kuppens is, of course, the icing on the Whispering Sons cake. Make no mistake; in Kuppens we have a bone fide post punk/darkwave star in the mould of…….well, nobody before really. Our new icon circles the stage with feline androgyny. But beware boys and girls, this Panthers coat is shiny but her claws remain sharp. Kuppens may win our hearts and minds but she could also tear our souls apart.

Whispering Sons launch their set with a cluster of songs from the debut album Image. This is front loading at its best. Of this early foray I think ‘Got A Light’ is the most persuasive with its Banshee guitars and tribal drumming. ‘Skin’ runs it a close second though. For the rest we tiptoe variously around Cocteau Twins Garlands era, (‘Performance’) and Bauhaus. There are nods to The Cure and other greats but nothing is ever blatant or out of place.

Earlier this evening we had an honest set from local act AstraSonic. These too dabble in the slightly darker end of the new wave spectrum. Yet theirs is a striking generational mix of gruff looking post punks (guitar and bass) and more grunge oriented youth (vocal and drums). I thought the drummer was superb throughout and the band were perhaps not really flattered by the mixing desk ops. The perennial perils of supporting, folks.

Toward the conclusion of their set Whispering Sons play ‘Waste’ which layers dry ice upon its already permafrosted verses, all the while leading us inextricably toward that climactic passage. The whole band are terrific here and throughout, from the standing up drummer (loved that) through Modern English-looking keyboardist to the aforementioned youthful bass and guitar respectively. They’ll forgive me I’m certain for singling out Fenne Kuppens. I know of no one currently comparable save perhaps The Twilight Sad for such compelling authenticity in a live performance. Kuppens frugs and grooves around the stage, a tightly wound coil of restless kinetic energy. A cascade of hair. One simply cannot take their eyes off of her. Yet when hers locked upon my own I felt my senses heighten and my jaw start to clench.

“I want to make you scream” implored Kuppens but it is her own that is the most primal tonight.

[sic] Thanks Whispering Sons, Eric, La Belvédère and Shameless Promotion PR

Interview with Fenne Kuppens.