CULTS

Naming a band these days must be a real bitch. How many great names have already been used over the years eh? Pick something cool and snappy…like Cults for instance…and the chances are it’s already been used, at least once (it has in this case…there’s another Cults on MySpace…some leftfield electro dude). I reckon there’s a business opportunity there, so send us a link to your music and we’ll come up with a name for you…for a small fee and a cut of your first £million naturally.

Sadly (for our bank balance at least) all of tonight’s bands had names. After some fine tunes from Victories At Sea DJ’s HEARTS kicked off proceedings with (in their words) some “trip-rock garage pop”.

H E A R T S H E A R T S

The lady HEARTS has a pretty powerful vocal which works well with the more understated male voice in the duo. Musically there’s a touch of late 90’s dance act Republica in places, mixed with a little of the XX’s dreamy brand of electronic and Hurts’ classy pop.

H E A R T S H E A R T S

Sparse guitars stab in and out of the synths like finger nails in a lover’s back and, judging by the enthusiastic young ladies at the front of the crowd and some generous applause at the end of an all too short set, the band succeeded in winning over more than just a few hearts tonight. But then again they’re an easy band to fall in love with.

H E A R T S

Next up Teenage Fanzine…no…hang on, just Fanzine.

Fanzine Fanzine

Yep, more than one person tonight pointed out a bit of a Teenage Fanclub vibe to Fanzine (just check out their track I Wanna Touch Your Hand for instance) and clearly they must’ve been a bit of an inspiration, just as The Byrds inspired Norman Blake and co before them.

Fanzine Fanzine

With vocals so laid back they’re virtually horizontal and a distinctly lo fi feel to the music there’s a pleasantly soporific quality to Fanzine. If that sounds like a bit of an insult, it ain’t. Whilst Fanzine won’t get you pogoing off the walls if you’re in the mood for drifting off and losing yourself in some timeless West Coast sounds there are few bands that do this stuff better right now.

Fanzine

Last up, and no doubt responsible for a 23.6% hipper crowd (at least) than even the Hare and Hounds normally pulls in, it’s Cults.

CULTS

Originally an indie-pop duo formed by a couple of New Yawk University students they’ve now swelled to a five piece for this, their first major UK tour. Some bands are born cool, some bands achieve coolness and some have coolness thrust upon them. Cults pretty much tick all three of these boxes. Signed to Lily Allen’s record label and attracting drooling hipster column inches across the world they’re the kind of band Phil Spector might well be producing these days (if he wasn’t…allegedly…blowing the heads off hookers).

CULTS

There’s a distinct 60s girl pop meets 80’s indie feel to a lot of their stuff, from the edgier opening number Abducted (as loud and thrashy as they get) through to the glockenspiel-tastic Go Outside, currently being heard on the Brothers Cider ads (you know, the one with the exploding fruit). Lead vocalist Madeline Follin neatly treads the fine line between being as cute as sack of kittens and sickeningly twee which, whilst doing that side to side knee dance thing that teenage girls do, ain’t easy to pull off.

CULTS CULTS

She can belt it out when she wants to though, which comes as a surprise on one of tonight’s best tracks, You Know What I Mean. Just when you’re gently swaying from side to side, lost in some sweet, dreamy lady pop you’re clobbered round the ears with a surprisingly soulful and gutsy chorus. “We’re amazed to be so far from home and to see so many people here” says Madeline as the set draws to a close with Oh My God (no, not the Kaiser Chiefs song) another slice of glockenspiel sprinkled pop. It’s no surprise to the hipster crowd though. It’s still early days of course, Cults are barely a year old in their current form, but they’ve got the makings of a band that could be a great deal bigger than the name implies…

CULTS

CULTS

Words by Daron Billings, email Daron.
Photos by Wayne Fox, email Wayne.

Leave a Reply