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Reef/Crashland: London Shepherd's Bush Empire

Hey, it's Friday night, and too much postmodern irony isn't good for you...

Reef/Crashland: London Shepherd's Bush Empire

Crashland frontman Alex Troup is an intense-looking young man, possessed of the kind of cool haircut, studied vulnerability and world-weary demeanour that practically guarantees you thermonuclear pop star status these days. And he's got songs too. Oh yeah. With choruses and everything.

Tonight we get an express delivery of the kind of three-minute explosive pop packages that we assumed the fashion police had safely defused a long time ago. 'Standard Love Affair' and 'New Perfume' bristle with emotional violence and lethal melodies. 'Modern Animal' adds a shot of *S*M*A*S*H* (no, really) to an already unstable compound, and at times the whole mixture threatens to combust in a glorious shower of cherry-red sparks.

And then there's the homogenised horde of beach-bum wannabes. Surfing the wave of their collective approval is the irrepressible Gary Stringer. 'Sweety' describes how he finds social situations difficult because he can't understand what people are on about. Bless. 'Superhero' is pleasingly uproarious, and after the rabble-rousing 'Consideration', it'd take a twisted individual to deny that they're good at what they do.

And hey, it's Friday night, and too much postmodern irony isn't good for you. And Reef are nothing if not sincere. So, mustering the obligatory inane grin and disengaging the brain, we succumb to their Stone Age sonic assault.

James Minta

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