Simian : Watch It Glow

Simian are the latest to take the Beta formula...

They didn’t quite make it into [I]NME[/I]’s recent Top 20 of the most-influential artists, but there’s no doubt that The Beta Band will figure highly in a decade’s time. This year alone, Noel Gallagher claimed they changed the way he wrote, and you can hear them in the folk-beat grooves of It’s Jo And Danny and The Kingsbury Manx. Simian are the latest to take the Beta formula – blissed-out vocal chants, kitchen-sink breaks, acoustic shuffles – and add their own gothic twist.

The Simian sound is a gorgeous midnight carnival fandango, and six track mini-album ‘Watch It Glow’ brims with spasmodic pocket-epics full of glowering organ and echoing electronica glitches. Bolstered by perfect four-part harmonies and frontman Simon Lord’s downbeat melodies, they’re not afraid to go baroque, ‘In Siam’ especially sounding like some mad space-rock hymn. ‘The Wisp’, meanwhile, takes slick ’70s prog vocals and underpins them with loping, DJ Shadow breaks and Aphex FX – and it’s awesome, like Alpinestars if they’d fixated on the Beach Boys instead of Air.

They can do scuffed-up pop too, ‘Grey’ coming on like Elliott Smith put through a Warp pedal. But it’s opener ‘Drop & Roll’ that best showcases their visionary technique – it’s their ‘Dry The Rain’, a heady, heaving mantra. It suggests that, come 2010, we could see Simian on that sacred list too.

Christian Ward