Live Review: Chew Lips

Frontlady Tigs and her troupe prove why to be proper pop stars is to be adored. The Social, London. Monday, March 30

Fronted by the glorious amalgamation of Karen O and Florence Welch in the form of exuberant singer Tigs, this London-based three-piece are turning out clever, streamlined synth-pop that so effortlessly captures the zeitgeist it almost seems cruel. After all, take a look at any ones-to-watch poll worth its salt this year and you’ll see one thing that unites all the frontrunners.

La Roux, Little Boots, Thecocknbullkid… aside from the obvious feminine streak, what really ties these scene-stirrers together is a distinct refusal to pale into the background. They represent a sharp about-turn from the pervasive fog of banality born from the plethora of painfully shy acoustic types populating the airwaves over recent months.

There’s always a place for a be-tweeded anti-hero, but really, since when did people forget how to be pop stars? If you’re going to spend your days existing on wartime rations and dragging Cash Converters-sourced equipment around in a barely legal white van, the least you can do is develop a formidable persona that renders you almost entirely unapproachable by the average civilian and wander round in a minor drink/drug-induced stupor for 90 per cent of your waking hours (which are few). You’re in a band for Christ’s sake. The licence to completely disassociate yourself from mere mortal behaviour is probably about the only reward you’re going to get.

So, with this in mind, the arrival of Kitsuné’s latest wünderkinder Chew Lips is one to be embraced with open arms (or a disaffected nod – this is London, after all). Armed with an impressive array of Korgs, drum machines, laptops and strings, the two male Lips, Will and James, simply pulse, while Tigs – blessed with a larynx that far outstrips her tiny stature – prowls around The Social’s cramped stage with more genuine sass than an army full of Pussycat Dolls clones. They’ve been together barely 12 months, but they’ve already got the capital in their pockets and have (in ‘Solo’) produced one of the most exciting singles of the year.

Judging by the eight-bit soul-disco gems on offer tonight, there are plenty more tricks stuffed up their vintage sleeves as well. ‘Salt Air’ is the filthiest ode to a car crash we’ve heard ever, while ‘Toro’ sits somewhere in the electronic junction between Metric

and Metronomy. Looks like this trio are gearing up to be unstoppable:

as if anyone would dare to try anyway.

Lisa Wright

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