London King's Cross Scala

It's not exactly a riveting floor-show, but the [a]Butterflies[/a]' kindly demeanour is as disarming as their shivery melodies are compelling...

The Butterflies Of Love have a ritual. Before the first chord is struck, vertiginously tall co-frontman Jeffrey Greene shakes the hand of each band member, as if he's only just met them, or is congratulating them ahead of time for a job well done. It's an unusual, charming gesture, and it's followed by an effusive, heart-wiltingly polite thank-you speech. "I want to thank the organisers, the venue and everyone who's stuck around to see us." The Butterflies are from New Haven, Connecticut. It must be a terribly friendly place.

Spawned from the same homespun American songwriting cocoon that has recently given us the joys of Wheat and Radar Bros, the Butterflies' gentle pop has a timeless, esoteric melancholy evocative of Galaxie 500 or Guided By Voices. Each song is a freeze-frame of suburban disappointment, the sound of sadness groping towards indefinite hope. From the wistful Hammond-washed 'Mt Everest' to the chiming resignation of 'It's Different Now', the Butterflies are trying to find purpose within the shaky network of human relationships, forging untold emotion into each three-minute explosion of densely layered guitars and doleful vocals.

While second singer (and no relation) Daniel Greene hovers over his microphone, Jeffrey hangs back puffing on a cigarette. The bass player faces the drummer the entire set. It's not exactly a riveting floor-show, but the Butterflies' kindly demeanour is as disarming as their shivery melodies are compelling.

A rare pleasure.

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