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Oxford Point

They love pop so deeply, they're blind to how their brilliantly baroque songs, loaded down with zillions of irresistible hooks and quirks, can fail to be pop...

Oxford Point

Just how strait-laced do you have to be to come away from a show by Galashiels' Dawn Of The Replicants struck only by the supposed 'weirdness', 'wrongness', and 'eccentricity' of all that went on? Just how narrow-minded are you, if you're blind to the accessibility and undeniable immediacy of this deliciously warped rock?

Well, yeah, the Replicants are besottedly left-hand in their pop nous. They don't resemble any pop stars who've come before (that guitarist/keyboard player Roger Simian bears passing resemblance to a younger Black Francis is somehow appropriate). But, as this canful of passionate Replicants fans, and not a few instant converts (they wuz blind, now they ca' see), punch air and shake hair in time with, say, the Beefheartian blare of 'Zulu Kites', one can't help but think how anthemic the likes of 'Science Fiction Freak' are sounding. Surely furry freaks like the Replicants shouldn't be able to make pop out of the glorification of the outsider, out of teaching that ridicule is nothing to be scared of? And how can they make that pop so good?

But, by writing such songs through what he knows (instead of patronising a non-existent body of youth he so blatantly doesn't belong to, ` la Ultrasound's 'Stay Young'), singer Paul Vickers is effortlessly documenting the emotions and experiences of anyone who ever cared more than society thinks 'proper' about anything. As soon as enough people hear their wonderful songs, a lot of disenfranchised square pegs in round holes will find someone to indentify with in Paul.

The Replicants so dearly love pop music, its power and its language. This exuberant passion explains how the likes of the clunking 'Sgt Pepper' psychedelia of 'Gasoline Vine', the buzzing stadia-grind of 'Rule The Roost', the deftly affecting 'Candlefire' and the bowel-scraping scree of 'Fearless Vampire Hunters' WORK. They love pop so deeply, they're blind to how their brilliantly baroque songs, loaded down with zillions of irresistible hooks and quirks, can fail to be pop.

If you truly love pop, you'll be as blind, too. And gladly.

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