Thursday, 18 March 2010

Teeth / Is Tropical / New Young Pony Club

Hi lovers, how is life?

Here is a little review I did for Gigwise for the Thekla gig of New Young Pony Club with Teeth and Is Tropical as support. Enjoy.

With New Young Pony Club rising from the ashes of ‘New Rave’ and London’s squat-scuzz trio Is Tropical rising to fame fast an evening of musical variety seems to be guaranteed. Is Tropical are rapidly becoming everybody’s new favourite band and judged by their tight performance at Bristol’s Thekla as support to NYPC, that hype appears perfectly justified. But let’s start at the beginning.

First on are Teeth. Teeth are a Hackney hipster band, yes another one of those, who list their manifold influences as ranging from Suicide and Throbbing Gristle to, ermmm, Aqua. This, shall we call it musical confusion, is reflected in their songs. They have one guy man-handling his laptop, a minute girl screaming her lungs out and a drummer, who pounds the shit out of those poor skins. However, even though the ingredients might sound intriguing, the final product is more than disappointing. An incoherent mish-mash of static beats, distorted noise and indecipherable squealing. Arty? Maybe. Annoying? Definitely.

Is Tropical are on next and they more than make up for the underwhelming opening performance. Is Tropical launch straight into an unpolished onslaught of jingly guitars and beats that are equally soaked in summer vibes and warehouse rave memories. Bass-heavy raw pop and exceptionally dynamic melodies make Is Tropical a spectacle to listen to. Their refreshingly inventive chirpy freak-pop showcases the vitality of a brasher and bolder Metronomy paired with The Coral and some very loopy noisy post-punk band.

Is Tropical aren’t afraid to mix things up a bit with ridiculously playful lo-fi, obscurely Tetris-sounding tunes and reverb-heavy hissed out/blissed out vocals, they demonstrate their unique brand of unstrung, fuzz layered power-pop. Demos ‘I’ll Take My Chances’ and ‘Seasick Mutiny’ are gems in the rough but it’s first single ‘When Oh When’ that really shows that Is Tropical have it all: the playful obscurity of art-pop, the brazenness of noise, the deliberate nostalgia of sea shanties and the futuristically accurate beats of a Timbaland production.

New Young Pony Club’s contemporary potpourri of electronic bleeps and syncopated off-beat drumming is very polished and thus stands in stark contrast to the two preceding bands. NYPC’s electro-pop has definitely infiltrated darker musical spheres. Where there used to be fluorescent high-powered saccharine beats, there is now a more mature sound that makes the party-animal filth-falsetto of their early days seem like the product of another band completely.

Singer Tahita Bulmer still prances around on stage like the love-child of Beyonce and Alice Dellal. She still has charisma and presence but thankfully the ear-numbing high-pitched ravey sounds of their hit ‘Ice Cream’ have been replaced by more detached soundscapes. Overall, it’s a solid performance but one that doesn’t thrill too much. Tracks from the follow-up album remind more of the dark dance depths of SBTRKT rather than of the fun-funk interludes of their first album. Even though New Young Pony Club seem to have all the right to call their second album ‘The Optimist’.

Laters Lovers x

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