For here we have five impressively scowling men from Birmingham: grown blokes who know their tasks and perform them as grown blokes should...

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London Camden Falcon

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London Camden Falcon

Watch out for the name. It may indeed suggest that [a]Subaqwa[/a] are cheery-cheeked relatives of those squealing Europop bastards who tried to ruin the known world with ‘Barbie Girl’. Lovers of gloomy luxury should however pay hearty attention, for while [a]Subaqwa[/a] represent a gruelling experience, it’s one that has little to do with Day-Glo-spewing dancefloors.

For here we have five impressively scowling men from Birmingham: grown blokes who know their tasks and perform them as grown blokes should. Their recent debut single, ‘Let It Go’, represents an admirable entrance, based as it is upon a deliciously morose tune, which simply refuses to give up the ghost, and the majority of the Subaqwa oeuvre follows a similarly sanguine path. With a bonus rough-arsed live edge, obviously.

Existing somewhere – broadly speaking – between a flamboyancy-free REM and a decidedly-not-weird Talk Talk, [a]Subaqwa[/a] have spent a good few years hidden away in the Midlands perfecting their mesh of subtle melodies and discreetly mangled chords (as evinced by imminent first album ‘Chalk Circle’), and they aren’t about to start scribbling crass shoutalongs now.

So the songs are long, the guitars are strong and the set is longer and stronger and louder still, grimacing and grinding to a marginally overcooked finale. No Eurodisco bastards here, then.