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London W1 The Social

From the first off-key chord, their beggar freakshow is utterly fascinating.

London W1 The Social

You probably haven't heard of Herman Dune. And why should you? David and Andre Ivar are brothers of Swedish Jewish descent, now resident in Paris. This is their first time on British shores, and they're here to promote this year's most criminally overlooked gem, 'Turn Off The Light' - a magnificently grimy debut that recalls the Palace Brothers, Belle & Sebastian and, rather more bizarrely, Serge Gainsbourg.

From the first off-key chord, their beggar freakshow is utterly fascinating. It's true, they look like vagrants: David towering centre-stage, hair in a vulgar mullet, Andre slumped against the wall like a gout-ridden alcoholic, hissing backing vocals into a microphone. But as the brothers spur each other on through the dirty carnal serenade of 'Our Smell Lingers', you warm to even their most awkward of impulses.

The last five minutes of the gig unroll as surreal theatre. As an encore, Herman Dune break into 'Meateaters Cocksuckers', a skeletal ode to vegetarianism, David barking out the title like a mantra. Three minutes later, he walks offstage, only to be confronted by a man who punches him in the face. Minutes later, he's outside in the cold night, licking blood from his teeth. It's been an odd night, he reflects, but from the look in David Ivar's eyes, that assessment is, quite rightly, something of a triumph.

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