The Exeter Hall, Oxford
2nd December 2005
Tonight’s Gappy Tooth Winter Warmer weekend warm-up is “electronica” in its broadest sense, as the line-up is decidedly eclectic.
Quintet Script have a female-male vocal dynamic which weaves around epic keyboard parts to produce something rather beautiful. Think The Magic Numbers covering Muse. The guitar leads more than the keyboard, which is a shame, as it makes them sound more folky and obscures some of the winsome tunes and chord progressions. Some of their songs are either too short or end in seemingly inappropriate places, which jars somewhat. It’s all an appealing jumble, though they could maybe do with a little more polish to define their sound.
It’s a mystery that Trademark aren’t more widely known. They are perfect synthpop; the newer stuff they play tonight (especially Where You Went Wrong and Stuck in a Rut) is more poppy and commercial than their earlier darker and moodier stuff, but still an exquisite example of the craft, and still exhibits their early 80s musical roots. Oli is an animated frontman, in contrast to his enigmatic Kraftwerk-esque bandmates, and they have the whole package sorted, from the suits to the plug logo. Lovely.
Eskimo Disco are one of those bands that have the pomp before the fame, but that may not necessarily be a bad thing: their swagger is compelling. They’re heading for the “spacerock” category, evoking Daft Punk, Blondie, Stevie Wonder and even Junior Senior without falling into the Babylon Zoo trap. There’s a hint of Bowie, especially (ironically?) in Japanese Girl, and the whole thing is flamboyant and fun, even the cover of The Final Countdown. Picture Perfect would be a fantastic plaintive pop song if it weren’t for the distracting talking bits and self-indulgent guitar solo, and What is Woman is the best song Giorgio Moroder never wrote. No doubt the Franz Ferdinand fans will discover them soon.