**PIC Blur-endorsed Icelandic duo move from techno to post-punk on an itchy claustrophobic debut
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Long may she twinkle.
After all, Melanie Chisholm - earthy popstrel of the people and, frankly, the only Spice Girl you'd want to have round for tea - has every right to be pleased with herself. Hot on the heels of her fabulously camp Number One smash 'I Turn To You', the tattooed twiglet now finds herself in the middle of a sell-out tour, proving that despite everything (the yawnsome is she?/isn't she? tabloid inquisition, the weight 'problem', et al), the show will go on.
Fittingly, then, tonight is less pop pantomime and more an aerobicised exercise in survival-skill dynamics, replete with critic-felling karate kicks, Internet-dissing monologues (Napster is referred to, touchingly, as "them bastards") and, naturally, the Scouser's patented juggernaut of empowering pop tunes. It is, unsurprisingly, top.
Just as the idea behind the Spice Girls was to offer a five-piece extravaganza of kiddie-appeasing choice, Ms C's family-sized selection pack of tunes is keenly concerned with diversity. Its something-for-everyone eclecticism knows no bounds. It simply wants you - and your maiden aunt, pet terrapin and local rabbi, of course - to like it. And, really, it's not hard.
Not keen on ace, snuffle-inducing sobathons like 'Northern Star' and 'Never Be The Same Again'? No problem! A quick spritz of the dancehall, Beatles-ish 'Suddenly Monday' should do the trick. Wary of maraca-wobbling Latino hipswingers like 'Closer'? Try riff-munching wig-out 'Goin' Down' instead!
Occasionally, the sonic guises that the Spicey one wriggles into are gauche and threadbare (her 'indie-rock' direction, for example), suggesting corporate sway is more prevalent than the headstrong songstress will admit. But, really, this matters not a jot. For Mel C is one of the few pop stars who remains virtually impossible to dislike. Like Robbie Williams, her unguarded interviews, her genuine wide-eyed enthusiasm for ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING!!! and her lack of showbiz pretence conspire - through sheer charm - to excuse the sporadic musical blunders.
Whether administering chicken soup to the pre-school set (the lyrics to 'Northern Star' read like a kiddies' self-help manual), or playing air guitar - hilariously - during 'Goin' Down', Mel C is cartoon-cool, super-daft pop in excelsis. Long may she twinkle.
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