London King's Cross Scala

In tiny robe-clad [B]Julian Taylor[/B], [a]Magic House[/a] have a vocalist who prances like [a]Prince[/a] and pouts like [B]Ian McCulloch[/B]...

There's no build-up, no warning, just a blaze of searing noise. Magic Housesteamroll straight into a paroxysm of brain-melting bass and fret-mangling power chords without introduction or apology, and a tangible shiver runs through the audience like a rabid wildebeest let loose. There's something mighty powerful running riot in here, and it's wearing a kimono.

In tiny robe-clad Julian Taylor, Magic House have a vocalist who prances like Prince and pouts like Ian McCulloch. Even when the racket bends worryingly towards the pompously epic, he acts as both curiously ghost-faced focal point and comic relief provider ("That's my favourite song," he smirks at the set's end, "because now I can go and have a drink.").

Their vocabulary is littered with goth-words - suicide, genocide, razor blades - and the mood is panic-stricken and clammy-basement dark. Placebo are definitely in the House. Yet couched beneath this manic glam-metal fagade is a tender pop heart which intermittently beats its way to the fore. Witness a lava-spitting dynamo called 'Levitation' that comes across like a brawny Suede, and forthcoming single 'Millennium Skies', with a quivering, bruised falsetto that belies the hell-bent aggression of its kung fu bass and tetchy rhythms.

Magic House are trying to scare you. Let them charm you instead.

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