Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, London, March 4
Charlie Boyer & The Voyeurs are often lazily lumped in with their Heavenly labelmates Toy and Temples. So this, their biggest headline show to date, is the quartet’s chance to create their own identity. Where their friends get lost in cosmic sonic tapestries, the Voyeurs transport the audience back to the dive-bar atmosphere of New York’s CBGB, all arty and angular and flecked with ’70s classicism. Live, they’re far more brutal than on record, their set fizzing with pent-up aggression – which all fits nicely with Charlie’s yowling vocals. Not that you can tell from his face, as his expression remains straight and blank even when singing lyrics like “sucking on my ding dong” that deserve at the very least a wry smile. New single ‘Things We Be’ benefits greatly from a beefed-up live rendition, Ross Kristian’s keys sounding ever more dramatic as the song whirls to its conclusion, bolstered by Sam Davies’ deep, elongated guitar strokes. ‘Go Blow A Gale’ slows things down, casting a different but no less compelling spin on the band’s set. It falls to debut single ‘I Watch You’ to bring the night to a close and sum up everything the band are about. At first it sounds almost exactly like The Modern Lovers’ proto-punk classic ‘Roadrunner’. Listen closer, though, and there’s evidence of a Britpop influence running through the song’s core. Conclusive proof, then, that the Voyeurs are operating from their own little bubble.